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of % 

The Estate of 
the late John Brand le 





the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 

SOUTH. The Story of Shackleton's Last 
Expedition, 1914-1917. 



Phoio.\ \Speaight Ltd. 

Sir Ernest Shackleton, aged 40, with his 
Younger Son, aged 3. 

Frontispiece. ^ 


C.V.O., O.B.E.(M/.), LL.D. 



Do your best, whether winning or losing it, 
If you choose to play ! — is my principle. 
Let a man contend to the uttermost 
For his life's set prize, be it what it will ! 

Robert Browning 




. . ^ 1964 ) 275^ 







THE life of a man of action may fitly be presented as a 
continuous narrative of his doings, from which a 
reader may gain a clear sense of the personality and 
trace the growth of character. 

Shackleton's life as it ran on seems in retrospect to have 
passed through three periods now presented in three books : 
the first, Equipment for the Achievement of the second ; the 
third. Bafflement, which an unconquerable optimism saved 
from defeat. Each of the three periods includes a series of 
distinct but consequent experiences forming natural chapters. 

Such an arrangement leaves little room for generahties, and 
requires an Epilogue in which the essence of the life may be 
sublimed from the facts. 

With this plan in view I have tried to set out the life and 
strife of my old friend as a sort of moving picture, the scale 
of which varies in its different parts according to the importance 
of each to the life as a whole. The endeavour necessarily falls 
short of the ideal inspiring it ; but I have done my best to 
chronicle a life, and a whole Hfe, so far as this is possible, while 
observing such restraint and reticence as are demanded by 
regard for the feelings of others. 

I have had free access to all available records, including 
diaries and intimate correspondence, and I have consulted 
Lady Shackleton at every stage of the work, in which she has 
afforded me the most ungrudging help. This may thus be 
regarded as an authoritative and responsible biography. It is 


right to add that my discretion has been unfettered both as to 
the facts dealt with and the manner of presenting them. 

When I first began to know Shackleton well, on board the 
Discovery, we were drawn together by a common love of the 
poetry which had so large a part in shaping his life. Now I 
find that this bond helps me to survey his career from a view- 
point that may almost be considered his own, and gives me 
courage for the effort to make worthy use of the wealth of 
material which Lady Shackleton's unreserved confidence and 
the voluntary help of many friends have placed in my hands. 

As a student of the history of polar discovery and as a 
geographer in personal touch with all the explorers of the last 
thirty-five years, I have been able to appreciate the work of 
Shackleton on his expeditions and to describe it with confidence 
and freedom ; but I have had Httle to do with the business 
world, and the ways of the City are mysterious to me, so that 
I could not enter with Uke sympathy and completeness into 
the commercial enterprises which Shackleton pursued from time 
to time with all the impetuous ardour of his nature. Nor have 
I been able to follow him in his social Hfe and relaxations when 
at home. 

I have satisfied myself as to the substantial accuracy of 
every statement of fact and of all quotations. Most of the 
chapter-mottoes were favourites with Shackleton, and they 
were not chosen at random. 

There have been some difl&culties as to dates, for both 
Shackleton and some of his correspondents often contented 
themselves with the day of the week, and when envelopes 
were preserved the post -marks were not always legible ; but 
the date of no important event referred to remains in doubt. 

The material for the first three chapters of Book I. I owe 
almost entirely to Sir Ernest Shackleton's mother and sisters, 
who lent me many early letters and confirmed doubtful points 
from their private diaries. I have, in particular, to thank 


Miss Shackleton, Miss A, V. Shackleton, whose help was excep- 
tionally important, and Miss Eleanor Shackleton for this 
information. The dates and ports of call of the early voyages 
were not clear from the letters, and for setthng them I have to 
acknowledge the ready help of the officials of the Marine Depart- 
ment of the Board of Trade and of the Committee of Lloyds. 

Every chapter contains the names of friends who gave 
information which they alone could supply, or appreciations 
of Shackleton 's character which they had special opportunities 
of observing : to all of these contributors, and to a few who 
prefer to remain unnamed, I wish to convey my heartiest 
thanks, and those of Lady Shackleton, through whom many 
of them were received. If to some I must also offer apologies 
for having condensed or curtailed what they wrote, I feel sure 
that they will take into account my difficulties in deahng with 
a large subject under a space-limit. 

Finally, I must thank my wife, whose unfailing help alone 
made it possible for me to undertake this work or to bring it 
to completion. 

H. R. M. 

T6th December 1922. 



Preface ....•••■• vii 


February 15, 1874 — ^The Yorkshire Shackletons — ^The Shackletons 
of Ballitore : Abraham, Richard the Friend of Edmund Burke, 
Abraham the Second — The Shackleton Arms — Ebenezer 
Shackleton of Moone — Henry Shackleton the Father, and 
Henrietta Gavan the Mother of the Explorer — The Irish Descent 
through the Families of Gavan, Gary, and Fitzmaurice — Cook's 
Antarctic Voyage, 1 772-1 774 — ^The Voyages of Bellingshausen, 
1820; Weddell, 1823; Biscoe, 1831 ; Balleny, 1839; Ross, 1840- 
1843; and of H.M.S. Challenger, February 1874 . , 3 

Chapter II. EARLY LIFE. 1 874-1 890 

Childhood at Kilkea — ^His First Penguin — Boyhood in Dublin — 
The Antarctic Tunnel — ^Love of Funerals — ^Youth in Syden- 
ham — Preparatory School and Dulwich CoUege — School 
Friends — Poor Scholars : Great Truants — ^Trying to sign on — 
Success of the Last Term — Ready for Sea. . . • X 7 

Chapter III. THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1 890-1 894 

First Voyage round the Horn to Iquique with rating of Boy — 
Apprenticeship to North- Western Company — Second Voyage 
to Iquique — ^Third Voyage round the Cape to India, thence 
to Mauritius, Australia, and Chile — Storms and Narrow Escapes 
— ^An Adventure at Tocapilla — ^His Love of Letters — Passes as 
Second Mate — ^The Power of the Stars . . . • 30 

Chapter IV. IN THE SHIRES AND CASTLES. 1 894-1 901 

He astonishes a Ship-owner — Sails as Third Mate of Monmouthshire 
to the East — Attempts at Verse — Passes as First Mate — Sails as 


Second Mate of Flintshire to Japan and California — ^Falls in Lov« 
— Passes as Master Mariner at Singapore — Begins to read 
Browning — ^Wreck of the Flintshire — Joins Union Castle Line 
— Sails on Tantallon Castle as Fourth Ofl&cer — On Tintagel 
Castle as Third Officer— His First Book: O.H. M.S.— Meets 
Rudyard Kipling — ^Becomes F.R.G.S. — ^The Carishrooke Castle 
— Appointed on National Antarctic Expedition . -45 

Chapter V. THE DISCOVERY, 1901-1903 

Engaged to Miss Dorman — Joins R.N.R. — Sails as Third Officer 
of Discovery — ^Winters in M'Murdo Sound — Edits South Polar 
Times — ^Accompanies Scott to Farthest South — His Diary of 
the Journey — Breakdown from Scurvy — Invalided Home and 
arrives well — Determination to Go Back. . . '57 

Chapter VI. SHORE JOBS. 1 903-1 906 

In London as Sub-editor of Royal Magazine — First Public Lecture 
— Marriage — In Edinburgh as Secretary of Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society — Electrifjdng a Council — ^Takes to Golf 
— ^A Social Success — Birth of Son — Stands for Parliament at 
Dundee — ^The Hecklers — State of the Poll — Resigns Secretary- 
ship — Joins Beardmore Firm at Glasgow — Commercizil Ventures 
and their Result — ^Appreciation by Friends . . .81 

Chapter I. SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 

Plans an Expedition to the South Pole — Birth of Daughter — ^Tries 
to enlist Old Comrades — Learns of Scott's Plans — ^The Promise 
as to Land Base — Change of Plans — Raises Funds by 
Guarantees — Bujrs the Nimrod — Completes Staff — ^Novel Ideas 
for Stores and Transport — King Edward inspects Ship — Receives 
M.V.O. — Travels to New Zealand and joins Nimrod . . 103 

Chapter II. THE NIMROD. 1908 

Towed by Koonya to Antarctic Circle — Reaches the Ice Barrier 
and finds Balloon Bight gone — Effort to reach King Edward 
Land — ^The Battle with the Ice— The Battle in his Mind — 
Forced to break a Promise — Lands at Cape Royds — Difficulties 
overcome — ^The Ship departs . . . . • 1 1 4 



Chapter III. SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 


Autumn Sledging — Ascent of Mt. Erebus — Wintering at Cape 
Royds — Editing and Printing Aurora Australis — ^The Motor-car 
— The Kinematograph — The Ponies — Spring Depot Journey 
— Selecting Companions for the Pole — Start with Three Men 
and Four Ponies — Hut Point — ^The Barrier Surface — ^Mount 
Hope — Discovery of Beardmore Glacier — Loss of Ponies — The 
Ascent to the Plateau— The Last Outward March— 88' 26' S. 
— The Great Race with Death — Starvation and Dysentery 
— Finding Last Depot through Mirage — Race for the Ship — 
Back to New Zealand . . . . . .125 

Chapter IV. POPULARITY. 1909-1910 

Reception in New Zealand, Australia, and Italy — ^Arrival in 
London — The Lion of the Season — Receives C.V.O. — Honours 
and Dinners — Cowes Week — Parliament grants ;^20,ooo — Stay at 
Balmoral — Lectures to the Geographical Societies of Europe — 
Received by Kings and Emperors — Gold Medals and Illustrious 
Orders — Knighted by King Edward — Popular Lecture Tours 
at Home and on the Continent — Consideration to Friends — 
American Tour — ^Triumphs and Troubles . . .156 


Chapter I. UNREST. 1911-1913 

The Explorer as Business Man — Small Success in the City — Sighing 
for the South — Helping Filchner in his Expedition — Receives 
the News of Amundsen at the South Pole — The Titanic 
Disaster — News of Scott's Triumph and Death — Business Visits 
to New York — ^Decides to start a New Expedition. . .183 

Chapter II. THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 

Floating the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition — The Search for 
Funds — Sir James Caird's Generosity — Purchase of the A urora 
and the Endurance — Getting his Men together — ^Testing New 
Gear on Norwegian Glaciers — The Endurance ready to Sail — 
Outbreak of War — ^Admiralty refuses offer of Ships and Men — 
Mental Struggle — The Endurance sails — Delay at South Georgia 
— Penetrates WeddeU Sea — Discovers Caird Coast — ^The Ship 
beset and drifting North — ^The Ship sunk — Unceasing Vigil 193 


Chapter III. THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 


Life on the Drifting Ice — Attempt to reach Land — The Floe breaks 
up — ^Takes to the Boats — "Old Cautious " — The Worst Hardships 
— All Hands reach Elephant Island — Desperate Counsels — 
Preparing the James Caird — Lea\ es Twenty-two Men under 
Wild — Sails with Five Men in the James Caird — Reaches South 
Georgia — Crosses unknown Mountains — Reaches Norwegian 
Whaling Station — When was the War over ? . . .213 

Chapter IV. ALL'S WELL! 1916-1917 

Tries to reach Elephant Island in Southern Sky — At the Falklands 
sends News Home — Second Attempt to reach Elephant Island 
in I nstttuto de Pesca fails — Third Attempt in Emma fails — A 
Letter to his Little Girl — The Discovery coming out — Fourth 
Attempt in Yelcho saves Wild and " the Boys " — ^Triumphal 
Reception in Chile — Learns that he is not wanted to save Ross 
Sea Party — ^Travels to New Zealand — Accepts Hard Terms — 
Reaches M'Murdo Sound as Subordinate on his own Ship — 
Beards a Committee — Hastens Home for War Work . . 229 

Chapter V. PRO P ATRIA. 1917-1919 

Recruiting Speeches in Australia and America — Home again — A 
Difficult Man to fit in — Mission to South America under 
Department of Information — Successful Propaganda — Returns 
in a Troop Ship — A Major's Commission — Equips Expedition for 
Spitsbergen — Recalled to join North Russian Expedition — At 
Murmansk — Brief Winter Visit Home — The Arctic Winter — 
Archangel — Resigns Commission .... 248 

Chapter VI. THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 

Business Life again — Restlessness — Plans for a Last Expedition — 
Project for exploring North Polar Area — Buys the Quest — 
Resolves to explore Oceanic Islands and Enderby Quadrant of 
Antarctic — Financed by Mr. Rowett — Equipping Shackleton- 
Rowett Expedition — The Boys rally to the Boss — Voyage of 
the Quest — Headwinds and Strain — Long Stay at Rio — Reaches 
South Georgia — Crossing the Bar .... 265 

Epilogue ........ 285 

Appendix : List of Distinctions, compiled by Lady Shackleton . 293 
Index ........ 295 


Sir Ernest Shackleton, aged 40, with his Younger 
AGED 3 .... . 

Ernest Henry Shackleton, aged ii . 

Ernest Henry Shackleton, aged 16 . 

The Full-rigged Ship Hoghton Tower 

Sub-Lieut. E. H. Shackleton, R.N.R., aged 27 

Ernest Henry Shackleton, M.V.O., aged 33 

t The Nimrod in Ross Sea 

The Hut at Cape Royds 

Camp on the Barrier, with Ponies 

Camp on the Beardmore Glacier 

Farthest South, 1909 . 

Back from the Farthest South 

Lady Shackleton and the Children, 1914 

Sir Ernest Shackleton, aged 40, in Sledging Dress 

The Endurance beset in Weddell Sea 

The James Cairo approaching South Georgia 

Major Sir Ernest Shackleton, C.V.O., aged 44 

Sir Ernest Shackleton, aged 47 

The Quest, unloaded .... 

Memorial Cairn at Grytviken 









Antarctic Regions as known in 1874 
Routes of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907 . .124 

Antarctic Regions as known in 1922 .... 196 

Routes of Endurance, James Caird, and Relief Ships, 1914-1916 236 



"Long, long since, undower'd yet, our spirit 
Roam'd ere birth, the treasuries of God ; 
Saw the gifts, the powers it might inherit, 
Ask'd an outfit for its earthly road. 

Then, as now, this tremulous, eager being 
Strain'd and long'd and grasp'd each gift it saw; 
Then, as now, a Power beyond our seeing 
Staved us back and gave our choice the law." 

Matthew Arnold. 


..." No family 
Ere rigg'd a soul for heaven's discovery 
With whom more venturers might boldly dare 
Venture their stake with him in joy to share." 


House in the barony of Kilkea, near Athy, Co. Kildare, 
on 15th February 1874. At the same time, on the 
outer edge of the most distant ocean, H.M.S. Challenger with 
all her men of science was l5ang amongst the icebergs close to 
the Antarctic Circle, which she was the first to reach by the 
power of steam. The wanderings of a ship on the sea are so 
far like those of a planet in the sky, that one might cast a happy 
horoscope for an explorer from this aspect of challenge to the 
South. Twenty-seven years had to come before the Hne of 
life of the newborn was to be interwoven with the parallels 
of highest southern latitude ; but the soul of the explorer had 
already been " rigged for discovery " by a crowd of ancestors, 
and the field of his future fame had been spied out and made 
ready by gallant pioneers through many generations. A back- 
ward glance in the two directions may serve to trace the con- 
verging Unes of ancestry and exploration to their meeting-point. 
Clever Mendehans may some day be able to describe and ex- 
plain a man's character from a study of the ascending ramifica- 
tions of his ancestry. This is beyond our power ; but we can at 
least hope to detect, in the full records of many of Ernest Shackle- 
ton's forbears, fragments of character which, as the kaleidoscope 
of his life revolved, grouped themselves into the new and sur- 
prising patterns of his mind. It may be that we shall find in the 


blending of like qualities and in the juxtaposition of incompat- 
ibles, a key to the originality, quick wit and unexpected decisions 
which in time fitted the infant of Kilkea to solve problems of the 
far South to which the Challenger was pointing at his birth. 

Shackletons, taking their name from the village of Shackle- 
ton, near HeptonstaU, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, have 
been traced back to the thirteenth century, when they held the 
position of foresters under the de Warrens, and references appear 
to" the fighting Shackletons " in stories of the wars of the Border. 
A branch of the family settled in Keighley near the end of the 
fifteenth century, and Richard Shackleton of Keighley, a bow- 
man, followed Lord Chfford to the battle of Flodden in 1513. 

In another part of the West Riding there were Shackletons 
of some repute during the sixteenth century, one of whom, 
Henry Shackleton of Darrington, was married in 1588 to a 
daughter of the Rev. Anthony Frobisher, vicar of the parish, 
who was a brother of the father of Sir Martin Frobisher the 
great Arctic explorer. The relation of the Shackletons of 
Keighley to those of Darrington we have not been able to 
ascertain ; but it is interesting to contemplate the possibihty 
of Sir Ernest Shackleton having had even remote ancestors 
in common with Sir Martin Frobisher. 

In 1591 one of the Keighley Shackletons purchased property 
in Bingley, where Shackleton House was inherited in 1654 by 
Roger Shackleton, who was bom in 1616, a younger son of 
John Shackleton, and from him the descent to Sir Ernest Shackle- 
ton is clear. In 1675 Roger Shackleton settled the property 
on his son Richard, who was a man of strong reUgious convic- 
tions, and the first of his family to embrace the doctrines of 
the Society of Friends of Truth as preached by George Fox, 
the founder of " the people called Quakers." In the seventeenth 
century only those of high moral courage dared to be dissenters, 
and Richard Shackleton passed through no Httle persecution. 
He was imprisoned for three years in York Castle, and heavily 
fined for holding meetings of the Friends in his house. When 
the toleration of dissent was secured, his life flowed smoothly, and 
in 1696 he obtained a licence for his house as a place of worship- 


In the same year his youngest son, Abraham, was bom at Shackle- 
ton House. The house was the property of Shackletons until 
early in the nineteenth century ; but it no longer exists, having 
been cleared away in 1892 in the course of street improvements. 
Abraham Shackleton was a delicate child, and both parents 
died before he was ten. His education was so far neglected, 
that he was twenty years of age before he began to learn Latin. 
Reahzing the seriousness of the case when, after trying various 
other occupations, he found that his only opening in Hfe seemed 
to be that of the teaching profession, he made a supreme effort, 
and in a very short time obtained a mastery of the language, 
and, his granddaughter records, he was eventually able to 
write " pure and elegant Latin." After preUminary experience 
as a teacher in Skipton he was invited by some Quaker friends 
in Ireland to go there as a private tutor. He returned to Eng- 
land in 1725 to marry Margaret Wilkinson, a cousin of his Skipton 
headmaster, and the pair settled at Balhtore, Co. Kildare, thirty 
miles south of Dublin, where they opened a boarding school 
for boys in 1726. Although they were strict and uncompromis- 
ing Quakers, the Shackletons won the respect, confidence and 
affection of people of all creeds. What wise indulgence to 
youth Abraham Shackleton 's Quaker principles permitted, and 
how he attracted the confidence of his boys, may be judged 
by this extract from a rhymed epistle of nine couplets written 
by his httle son, Richard, then aged eight. 

" Dublin : The 10th of the $th mo., 1734. 

"Honoured Father 

Since my last I've seen the Fair 

And many Tents and Drunkards there. 

Six foreign Beasts I went to see 

And Birds of which one frightened me. 

I've seen at last the mighty Sea 

And many ships near to the Quay. 

I've seen the College and the Castle 
And many boys that love to wrestle. 
With dearest love I now conclude 
And always hope I may be good. 

Richard Shackleton." 


Some famous men were educated at Ballitore, which in 
time came to be known as " The Eton of Ireland." Richard 
Brocklesby, the friend and physician of Dr. Johnson, was one of 
these. Another was Edmund Burke, who venerated Abraham 
Shackleton throughout his life, believing that from him came 
all the good he ever got from education, though he spent but 
two years at Balhtore. 

Burke wcls twelve years of age when he went to the Quaker 
school, and made the acquaintance of Richard Shackleton, the 
son of the headmaster, who was three years his senior. Between 
them, in the words of Viscount Morley, " there sprang up a 
close and affectionate friendship, and, unlike so many of the 
exquisite attachments of youth, this was not choked by the 
dust of Ufe, nor parted by divergence of pursuit. Richard 
Shackleton was endowed with a grave, pure and tranquil 
nature, constant and austere, yet not without those gentle 
elements that often redeem the drier quahties of his rehgious 
persuasion. When Burke had become one of the most famous 
men in Europe, no visitor to his house was more welcome than 
the friend with whom long years before he had tried poetic 
flights, and exchanged all the sanguine confidences of boyhood. 
And we are touched to think of the simple-minded guest secretly 
praying, in the soUtude of his room in the fine house at Beacons- 
field, that the way of his anxious and overburdened host might 
be guided by a divme hand." 

Richard Shackleton studied at Trinity College, Dubhn, and 
was the fii-st Quaker to do so, although he could not graduate, 
being a nonconformist. He married in 1749 Ehzabeth, daughter 
of Henry Fuller of Fuller's Court, Ballitore, a house with a 
beautiful garden, famous for its cHpped yew hedges, and laid 
out on the rich bog-land reclaimed by the settlement of Enghsh 
Quakers at the end of the seventeenth century. His son 
Abraham was bom in 1752, and his wife died two years later. 
He married again in 1755, Elizabeth Carleton, by whom he had 
a daughter, Mary, who, as Mrs. Leadbeater, was famous as a 
graceful writer, and in the Ballitore Papers gave the best account 
of social Ufe in Ireland during the great rebellion. In her 
Memoirs and Letters of Richard and Elizabeth Shackleton, pub- 


lished in 1823, she says of her father : " The fault of his temper 
was quickness, not violence ; but this was soon subjected to his 
judgment, and if he thought he had wounded anyone thereby, 
he was ready to acknowledge it with a benign humihty." 

Richard had succeeded his father as headmaster of Ballitore 
School in 1756, and in 1779 he retired, handing on the succession 
to his son Abraham. From an early age until shortly before 
his death in 1792, Richard Shackleton had represented the 
Irish Quakers at the Friends' Yearly Meeting in London, and at 
Burke's hospitable table he met the great men of the day, and 
shared in the brilliant conversation of the London of Dr. Johnson. 
There can be no doubt that he was familiar with the voyages of 
Captain Cook, and knew how the myth of a vast Southern 
Continent was shattered by Cook's voyage in H.M.S. Resolution 
in 1772-75, when the Antarctic Circle was first reached and 
found to girdle a region of perpetual ice. But he could not 
know that his own great -great -grandson was destined to link 
the name of Shackleton for ever with the solitary snow-clad 
Isle of Georgia which Cook had added to the British realm. 

The younger Abraham Shackleton was a student of natural 
science as well as of classical learning, and wrote memoirs on 
astronomy, botany and conchology based largely on his own 
observations. He shared the tastes of his father and grand- 
father in literature and poetry, dehghting in Milton and Cowley. 
He also followed the example of his grandfather Abraham by 
coming to England for his wife. He married in 1779 Lydia, 
daughter of Ebenezer Mellor of Manchester. Her mother was 
a daughter of John Abraham of Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston, 
and a direct descendant of Margaret, wife of Judge Fell of 
Swarthmoor Hall and later wife of George Fox the founder 
of the Society of Friends, a woman of heroic courage and un- 
conquerable will. She wrote four outspoken letters to Oliver 
Cromwell on the persecution of the Quakers, and after the 
Restoration she journeyed to London and spoke plainly to 
Charles ii. of the continued persecution of his most loyal sub- 
jects. The mind of Abraham Shackleton was turned to the 
history of his family, and in 1794 he had a correspondence with 
a cousin then residing in London, who conducted inquiries in 


Lancashire and not only made out the genealogy, but forwarded 
to the Quaker schoolmaster a copy of the coat-of-arms of 
Richard Shackleton in 1600. These arms, as subsequently 
confirmed to him by the Herald's Office in Dubhn, showed 
three gold buckles on a red ground, and bore the crest of a 
poplar tree with the inspiring motto, Fortitudine Vincimus. 

Ebenezer Shackleton, the son of Abraham and Lydia, bom 
in 1784, was thus descended on both sides from the sturdy stock 
of original North of England Quakers. He became the owner 
of flour mills at Moone, Co. Kildare, and was an enthusiastic 
horticulturist. The garden surrounding the beautiful house 
which he built at Moone was laid out with great skill and kept 
in proud perfection. His pohtical principles were said to be 
far in advance of his time, and he was a close friend of Daniel 
O'Connell the patriot, and of Father Mathew the famous 
temperance reformer. He was twice married, his second wife 
being Ellen, daughter of Captain WiUiam Bell of Bellview, 
Abbeyleix. She was a woman of rare charm, both in person 
and character, of cultured literary tastes, and came of Quaker 
stock. Ebenezer Shackleton was formally removed from the 
Society of Friends for his failure to conform strictly to 
its rules in some particulcirs ; but he continued to attend 
the meetings, and on his death he was laid in the Quaker 
burjdng-ground. The children of the second marriage were 
brought up by Mrs. Shackleton as members of the Church of 
England. Henry Shackleton, destined to become the father 
of the explorer, was one of the younger sons of Ebenezer and 
Ellen Shackleton. He was ten years old at his father's death, 
and his mother hoped that he would adopt the army as a pro- 
fession, so he was sent to the Old Hall School in WeUington, 
Shropshire. The boy's warlike reputation may be gathered from 
the description of a snowball fight in the school magazine : 

" Oh never did so brave a band 
With such a threat'ning aspect stand 
Upon those rocks before ! 
The savage hordes of Shackleton 
The Langtry and McLaine 
And all the lowland chivalry- 
Were gathered on the plain." 


A serious illness destroyed his chance of going in for the 
artillery as he had intended, and on recovering he was sent to 
a school at Kingstown. Here he won an exhibition to Trinity 
College, DubHn, where he graduated in Arts in 1868, winning 
the silver medal. From the earliest time the family had loved 
the country, and the care of farm and garden was natural to 
them. The three generations at Ballitore had cultivated their 
land as well as the minds of their scholars, and almost instinc- 
tively Mr. Henry Shackleton bought a small property at Kilkea, 
Co. Kildare, and devoted himself to farming with all his heart. 
In 1872 he married Miss Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan, the 
only daughter of Mr. Henry John Gavan, son of the Rev. John 
Gavan, Rector of Wallstown, Cork. 

Miss Gavan had long known Mrs. Ebenezer Shackleton, for 
whom she had an extraordinary affection, and as a girl she used 
to say that she would only marry a son of Mrs. Shackleton, 
though at the time she did not know her future husband. Miss 
Gavan was of Irish descent, and this marriage was the first infusion 
of Celtic blood into the sturdy Quaker stock which had remained 
English though Uving in Ireland for a century and a half. 

The Rev. John Gavan lived in troublous times, and many 
tales were told to his great-grandchildren of his adventures 
during the Whiteboy riots of a hundred years ago. His 
daughters shared his personal courage, and when for many 
months the rectory was garrisoned by troops for their pro- 
tection, the girls were taught to shoot by the soldiers. They 
were strictly interned within the boundary of the glebe, but 
one day they determined to break bounds and went for a drive. 
They were soon stopped by a party of riotous turf-cutters, who 
brandished their long spades and barred the way. The officer 
of the little garrison was coming up cautiously to reconnoitre 
when his horse, which belonged to one of the young ladies, 
hearing his mistress's voice, broke into a gallop and dashed 
into the thick of the rioters, scattering them in terror. Several 
members o^ the Gavan family went out to Tasmania and New 
South Wales in the early days of settlement. 

Mrs. H. J. Gavan, the mother of Mrs. Henry Shackleton, was 
a daughter of John Fitzmaurice and Henrietta Frances Cary. 


The Fitzmaurice strain may be traced back to the 20th Baron 
of Kerry, and the Irish annals contain many records of the 
reckless daring of " the turbulent Fitzmaurices." One of her 
first cousins was a commander in Nelson's flagship at the battle 
of Copenhagen. Her grandfather on the Fitzmaurice side used 
to boast that he had run through estates in nine counties, and 
the lavish extravagance of his living was illustrated by his 
habit of regahng his huntsmen with mulled port. 

Miss Henrietta Gary's grandfather was the Archdeacon 
of Killala, whose nephew was the Rev. Henry Francis Gary, 
the translator of Dante. On the Gary side there was a 
Huguenot ancestor, a refugee from France in 1685, who 
was also an ancestor of the great polar explorer, Sir Leopold 

Mr. H. J. Gavan, father of Mrs. Henry Shackleton, quahfied 
as a medical man, but deserted medicine for a commission in 
the Royal Irish Constabulary, and shortly after his marriage he 
received the important appointment of Inspector-General of 
Police in Geylon. He and his wife embarked at Falmouth in 
1844 in the sailing ship Persia for the long voyage round the 
Gape of Good Hope, but the start was inauspicious. The ship 
met a fierce gale in the Channel, and after struggling against it 
for ten days had to put back to Falmouth. Here several of the 
passengers, who had suffered so badly from sea-sickness that 
they could not resume the voyage, were put on shore. Amongst 
these were Mr. and Mrs. Gavan, who had to leave all their heavy 
luggage behind in the ship's hold. A small brown wooden chest, 
part of the cabin equipment, came ashore and was a familiar 
relic in the nursery of their grandchildren. Mr. Gavan never 
recovered from his cruel tossing on the sea, and died in 1846 
soon after the birth of his daughter. Mrs. Gavan long survived 
to be a beloved grandmother to her daughter's family. 

Courage, cautious in the English line, reckless in the Irish, 
idealism (chastened on the one side, fantastic on the other), 
devotion to great rehgious enthusiasms, love of free life in the 
open air, a passion for poetry, and an unfailing instinct for 
friendship, were common to both the Shackleton and the Gavan 
descent. When Ernest Henry was bom on 15th February 1874, 


the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shackleton, he brought 
with him a great inheritance of splendid qualities. To what 
use he put it will appear as we proceed to map the torrent of 
his impetuous life. 

Antarctic Regions as known at Shackleton's Birth, 1874. 

The other event of 15th February 1874, the arrival of H.M.S. 
Challenger at the Antarctic Circle, requires for its full apprecia- 
tion a backward glance along the history of discovery by sea. 
Captain Cook died convinced that he had settled the problem 
of the Antarctic continent, so that no explorer would henceforth 
care to follow it within the belt of ice. He had, however, sup- 
plied a magnet that drew a fleet of sealers to southern waters by 


his discovery of the Isle of Georgia, a name which, apparently 
by the carelessness of an engraver, was changed to South 
Georgia. American independence had diverted much of the 
South American seaUng trade to British ports, and the firm of 
Enderby Brothers, in particular, sent their small vessels from 
the Thames to South Georgia and other sub- Ant arctic islands. 
The close of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 threw many naval 
officers out of employment, and some of the most adventurous 
of them took to Antarctic seaUng ; and being good navigators 
and provided with chronometers, they were able to make charts 
of their discoveries and give a clear account of them. 

In 1819 a British trader between the River Plate and Val- 
paraiso discovered a group of snow-clad islands far south of 
Cape Horn and called them the South Shetlands. The most 
easterly islands of the group were named Elephant Island, from 
the abundance of sea elephants, and Clarence Island. In the 
same year the Tsar Alexander i. sent out two great expeditions, 
one to the North Pole, the other in two ships, the Mirni and 
Vostok, to the South Pole. To Bellingshausen, the commander 
of the southern expedition, was assigned the task of supple- 
menting Cook's Antarctic voyage by going south where Cook 
had kept to the north, and keeping north where Cook had gone 
south. He made a complete circumnavigation, and in particular 
sailed far within the Antarctic Circle along a high ice-wall some- 
times reaching 69° S. in what was subsequently called the 
Enderby Quadrant, i.e., the range of longitude from 0° to 90° E. 

In 1823 James Weddell, a Scottish sealer and ex-naval officer, 
with two small vessels, the brig Jane of 160 tons, and the cutter 
Beaufoy of 65 tons, found the ice conditions to the south of 
South Georgia exceptionally favourable, and succeeded in reach- 
ing to 74° S. in 34° W., the farthest south hitherto attained, and 
he reported open sea there. He called the part of the ocean 
he had traversed King George iv. Sea ; but posterity has 
honoured the discoverer ty naming it the Weddell Sea. No 
subsequent explorer has found this sea clear of drifting floes, 
and much wiU be heard of it in later chapters. An entertaining 
American sealer and author, one Benjamin Morrell, described 
a voyage in the same sea in the same year, in the course of which 


he caught seals on the coast of New South Greenland, which is 
still sometimes found dotted-in on Antarctic maps under the 
name of Morrell Land. It was said to lie in longitude 50° W., 
and much controversy has been wasted upon it. It was prob- 
ably only the east Graham Land coast misplaced by the rough- 
and-ready calculations, or by the crafty design of a sealer bent 
on his trade. Morrell Land will beckon to us again amid the 

Ten years elapsed before the next discoveries. Then in 
1831-33 John Biscoe, an ex-naval officer with two of Enderby's 
ships, the little brig Tula and the cutter Lively, made a magnifi- 
cent circumnavigation in the far south, following Bellings- 
hausen's track through the Enderby Quadrant ; though he had 
never heard of the Russian explorer, whose work remained 
sealed up in the Russian language for many years. He 
had the good fortune to discover land on the An arctic 
Circle in 50° E. He saw it in bad weather and made heroic 
efforts to reach a bold headland, which he named Cape Ann, 
fighting against incessant gales with a crew reduced to a few 
men by illness and hardship. It is the Enderby Land which 
remains on the map, though no human eye has seen it since its 
discovery. After refitting at Hobart, Biscoe resumed his voyage 
eastward and discovered the west coast of Graham Land and 
the Biscoe Islands south of the South Shetlands, On his return 
to England he found that the Royal Geographical Society had 
been established, and he received from it the first gold medal 
ever given for Antarctic exploration. He was a fine navigator, 
a keen observer, and his observations on sea-ice anticipated 
many conclusions arrived at by better equipped expeditions 
long after his work was forgotten. A second expedition was 
prepared for him with the aid of the Admiralty, but it led only 
to disputes and disaster. 

Another of Enderby's sealers, John Balleny, in the little 
schooner Eliza Scott ^vith the cutter Sabrina in company, left 
CampbeU Island, south of New Zealand, in January 1839 ; and 
keeping farther south than any one else had done in that region, 
he fell in with a group of mountainous islands, now known as 
the Balleny group, on the Antarctic Circle, in longitude 164° E. 


It is impossible to praise too highly the courage and tenacity 
of the early sealers in their ill-found little vessels, especially 
when it is remembered that the time spent on discovery, and 
still more the pubUcation of the position of new coasts, meant 
a reduction, sometimes the total loss, of the profits which might 
be expected from their trade. 

The next impulse to exploration in the far south came from 
the side of science. The increase of shipping on the routes 
from the Atlantic to Australia and China made a better know- 
ledge of the magnetic conditions of the Southern Ocean a matter 
of practical concern, and about 1835, expeditions, in which 
magnetic observations in those seas had an important place, 
were planned in France, the United States and Great Britain. 
In the two former the Antarctic episodes were but a small part 
of the programme, and it is sufiicient here to note that both 
D'Urville in the French expedition and Wilkes in the American 
tried to enter the Weddell Sea and were forced by ice to abandon 
the attempt. In January 1840 both expeditions discovered 
land, called by the French Ad^lie Land, on the Antarctic Circle 
south of Tasmania, and Wilkes beUeved that he saw signs of a 
continent along 1500 miles of ice-laden sea to the west. 

The British expedition was specially fitted for magnetic 
work in the South Polar area, and the command was given to 
Sir James Ross, who had already located and visited the North 
Magnetic Pole, and was ambitious of paralleling this exploit 
in the south. He was in command of a stout ship of 350 tons, 
H.M.S. Erebus, and Captain Crozier commanded H.M.S. Terror, a 
similar vessel, the two saiHng in company. Naval ofi&cers were 
trained for magnetic work, and the surgeons were expected to 
deal with other branches of science. The youngest man on the 
expedition was Joseph Dalton Hooker, assistant surgeon on the 
Erebus and already a keen botanist. The expedition sailed in 
1839 ^^^ returned in 1843, having spent three successive summers 
in Antarctic exploration. The first two seasons, 1840-41 and 
1841-42, were devoted to the region south of New Zealand, 
where Ross found it possible to penetrate a broad zone of 
floating'^pack ice and entered a stretch of nearly open water, 
since called the Ross Sea. The western boundary of this sea 


Ross found to be a coast rising inland to a lofty range of moun- 
tains, several exceeding 10,000 feet in height, and stretching 
from a low promontory, Cape Adare, in 71° S. southward for 
400 miles, where at M'Murdo Bay, nearly in 78° S., it turned 
sharply to the east. The coast was called Victoria Land, and the 
magnetic pole was located far in its interior, not to be reached 
by sea. No landing was made on the mainland, but a ceremony 
of annexation was held on Possession Island, which lay off the 
coast. The eastern side of M'Murdo Bay was rocky land, rising 
to two great volcanic peaks, one active, one extinct, to which 
with singular appropriateness the ships stood godfather and 
left Mounts Erebus and Terror to mark their farthest south. 
The land at its eastern extremity, Cape Crozier, joined on to a 
huge wall of ice apparently afloat — deep water reached to near 
its vertical face — ^and stretching for 400 miles to the eastward, 
with a height varying from 200 to 300 feet. At the eastern 
extremity of the Barrier, signs of land were found, but Ross 
was too cautious to claim this as a discovery. The marvel of 
the Ice Barrier impressed the explorers more than anything 
else, for it resembled nothing that they had ever seen, and its 
origin was a mystery. It was conjectured that the great flat- 
topped icebergs, or rather floating ice islands, of the Antarctic 
seas were portions of this or some similar barrier broken off by 
earthquakes or gales. 

A great gap had been cut by these voyages into the disc of 
the unknown bounded by the Antarctic Circle. 

The summer of 1842-43 was devoted to a strenuous attempt 
to follow Weddell's track into the Weddell Sea on the opposite 
side of the Antarctic area, the only other known gap in the 
disc. All attempts to penetrate the pack failed near the Une of 
Weddell's track, but 19 degrees farther east a way was forced, 
and the Erebus and Terror attained the latitude of 71° S., and a 
sounding was made which Ross beUeved indicated the tremen- 
dous depth of 4000 fathoms. 

In 1845 some additional magnetic observations were made 
by Moore on the Pagoda in the Enderby Quadrant, which Ross 
had not visited ; but the attempt to get to [Enderby Land 
was foiled by bad weather. 


For nearly thirty years no ship troubled the solitude of 
Antarctic waters. A great expedition for studying the depth 
and the Uving creatures in all the oceans of the world was 
equipped in 1872 by the British Admiralty on H.M.S. Challenger 
under the command of Captain George Nares, R.N., with a 
scientific staff of six men, presided over by Professor Wyville 
Thomson of Edinburgh. One of the staff was John Murray, 
then unknown, later to become the most renowned oceano- 
grapher in the world. This expedition made a half-furtive 
dash across the Antarctic Circle south of Kerguelen Land on 
i6th February 1874. It was a hazardous adventure, for 
though the Challenger had the benefit of steam power, she 
was by far the largest ship that ever entered the southern ice, 
and she had no special strengthening to resist pressure if 
caught in the pack. In her short sojourn a number of 
soundings were made, samples of the deposits on the bottom 
of the ocean were secured, the icebergs were photographed for 
the first time, and material was collected by which subsequent 
laboratory investigations proved conclusively that somewhere 
not very far to the south of the Challenger's track there lay a 
great continent on which no human foot had trod. A grand 
result, full of the promise of new research ; but again the mists 
rolled round the southern land, and for nearly twenty years the 
soUtudes remained more menacing than inviting. 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 

" Heaven lies about us in our infancy; 
The soul that rises in us, our Life star. 
Hath had elsewhere its setting and cometh irom afar. 

• •••••*! 

The Youth, who daily further from the east 
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest, 
And by the vision splendid 
Is on his way attended." 


WE search in vain amongst the memories of his mother, 
his sisters, and his school friends, above all in his 
school reports, for any intimation of future greatness 
in the childhood of Ernest Henry Shackleton. Many a man who 
jogged dully along life's highway for threescore years and ten 
has started as an infant prodigy or has at least shone resplendent 
in his school prize lists and first elevens. But now and again 
a Give or a Darwin, who had been small credit to his teachers, 
has become a Hght to the world. So it was with Shackleton. 

His was a natural and happy childhood ; he had perfect 
health, a generous spice of mischief, and a lively fancy. He 
responded to the love of his parents, and as the years went on he 
accepted the devotion of the growing band of sisters as one of 
the native rights of man. His life until he went out into the 
world at sixteen falls into three parts — six years at Kilkea, four 
years in DubUn, and six years at Sydenham, always hving at 

Kilkea, in the most fertile part of Co. Kildare, is within five 
miles of Moone, the residence of Ernest's grandfather, and of 
Ballitore, made famous by the Shackleton family. Quiet rural 
beauty without much scenery save such as rich meadows, culti- 



vated fields and woodlands can afford, is the feature of the 
district ; and if the garden of Kilkea House was less perfect 
horticulturally than that at Moone, it was a pleasant place for 
children to grow up in. Mrs. Shackleton says that for the first 
eighteen months of Ernest's life she feared that he was too good 
to live. He never cried ; his blue eyes and golden hair gave 
him an angeUc beauty ; but as the years passed, the alarming 
symptoms abated. 

Mr. Shackleton was devoted to his garden, his farm and his 
children. He was their companion and instructor in the life 
of the open air. He taught them to swim in the river Griese, 
reminding them of the old Quaker joke of the Balhtore school- 
boys, ** Those who go into the Griese come out dripping." 
He set them on horseback at a very early age ; he encouraged 
them to jump from high and ever higher places, to shun no 
reasonable risks, and to be afraid of nothing. Though courage, 
both physical and moral, ran in their blood, the Uttle Shackletons 
were not exempt from fear, and an incident is remembered in 
which Ernest, frightened rather by the superstitious tales of a 
silly nursemaid than by the noise itself, asked to be shut up in 
the nursery cupboard while a great thunderstorm was raging. 
It is, however, worth noting that even after he became famous 
as the most fearless of explorers, he did not Uke this episode of 
his infancy to be referred to. 

One might have expected to hear of him even as a child eager 
to be first in everything that was doing and in the front on all 
excursions. The reverse seems to have been the case, for in the 
later Kilkea days, when the little group of children went out 
with their nurse in the country lanes, Ernest was always drop- 
ping behind, looking about him in the hedges and ditches, 
happy in his own thoughts, or gathering and sometimes eating 
the wayside flowers. So habitual was this, that the nurse used 
to call him " Mr. Lag." It is almost certain that Ernest could 
read simple words when he was four years old. He was much 
attracted by music, and would Usten in great contentment to 
his mother singing Irish airs, or playing on the piano for an hour 
at a time. When a child he took an extraordinary fancy to a 
feather muff belonging to one of his sisters and always wanted 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 19 

her to lend it to him for the pleasure of admiring and stroking 
it — an incident too trivial to mention save for the fact that the 
muff was made of the skin of a penguin and came from the far 

For several years the Shackletons lived in Kilkea House, 
and there six children were bom, two boys and four girls. 
The general depression of agriculture all over Ireland in the 
late 'seventies turned the mind of Mr. Shackleton towards 
a new profession, and as he had long been interested in 
homoeopathy, of which his uncle, Dr. WiUiam Bell, was a 
practitioner, he decided at the age of thirty-three to start 
the systematic study of medicine. In 1880 he re-entered, at 
Trinity College, DubUn, the classrooms which he had quitted 
as a graduate in Arts twelve years before. At the same time 
he grew a beard, and this brought out so striking a resemblance 
to "the uncrowned king," whose sway in southern Ireland 
was then in the ascendant, that the lively youngsters in the 
medical classes dubbed him " Pamell " forthwith. The nick- 
name was probably not altogether uncongenial, as he was and 
remained a strong believer in Home Rule for Ireland in the 
moderate form demanded in those reasonable days. The 
family settled at 35 Marlborough Road, and although two years 
younger than his great -great -grandfather was when writing 
the rhymed account of DubUn's wonders, quoted in the last 
chapter, Ernest must have looked with no less interest at " the 
mighty sea, and many ships near to the quay." His grand- 
mother, Mrs. Gavan, about this time told how her brother, who 
was in the Royal Navy, was seized by Spanish pirates and was 
never heard of again ; the children looked for the return of this 
hero of romance until the lapse of years showed it to be impos- 
sible. Stories of the sea no doubt gave point to his favourite 
game of " cabins," which led to his constructing a famous ship 
in the Dubhn garden. The hull was a garden-frame which he 
decked over with boards detached from a garden seat, thus 
forming a dark hold, which he proceeded to stow with a diversity 
of cargo. Not ships, however, but funerals were his chief joy. 
It was almost impossible to keep him from running after a 
funeral if he sighted one anywhere in the streets. A possible 


explanation is that this was the easiest expression of a child's 
natural love for pageants, funerals being the commonest and 
least dangerous things of the kind to be met with in Dublin in 
the early 'eighties. The children were taught to shun brass 
bands, if not actually to take cover at the sound of one ; for a 
brass band was the common sign of a fenian or other rebel pro- 
cession, and in the vicinity of such a challenge to the civil power 
there were risks which the little Shackletons' father did not 
consider reasonable. 

One of the institutions of the DubUn days was an annual 
picnic to the Three Rock Mountain, an imposing mass south of 
the city, which soars, indeed, to something short of 1500 feet 
above sea-level, but has some rough ground and steep slopes 
on its sides. Here their father made the children, boys and 
girls together, run races downhill to a given mark and back 
again, his advice at the start being " stick your heels in and 
keep your heads up ! " This early famiharity with steep places 
must have come back years later to the mind of the Antarctic 
leader, encouraging his men on mountains that surpassed the 
Three Rock even as the man had outgrown the child. 

The children had lessons from a governess, and one day 
the form of the Earth was the subject, and stress was laid on the 
fact that the lands of the Antipodes were situated directly 
beneath our feet. Ernest was then about seven years old, and 
after some meditation he enhsted all the available labour the 
nursery afforded, and set to work in the back garden to excavate 
a shaft by which he hoped that a new and shorter route to 
AustraHa could be established. The depth was already for- 
midable to the small workers, when the threat of the landlord's 
displeasure enabled the domestic authorities to secure the 
abandonment of the scheme. So his first Antarctic expedition 
might be said to have ended, not from any fear in the leader, 
but on account of the unreasoning prejudices of people who 
could not understand. It must be acknowledged that the real 
attraction of the tunnel was the dehght of digging in the earth. 
At a time when most boys of his period looked forward to 
becoming postmen or engine-drivers, " And what are you going 
to be when you grow up, my little man ? " drew from him 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 21 

the solemn declaration, " a gravedigger." Stories of buried 
treasure fascinated the boy, and they never lost their glamour 
for the man, nor to the young Irish mind did it detract much 
from the joy of search that the treasure must be buried before 
it could be found ; it only required some careful planning. One 
day Ernest confided to a favourite servant that he was of opinion 
that there was buried treasure in the garden, possibly gold and 
gems in dazzling profusion, and he was willing to suggest Hkely 
spots for the search if she would dig. The maid agreed, perhaps 
with a suspicion that the claim had been " salted," and sure 
enough treasure was found — a ruby ring belonging to Mrs. 
Shackleton. The episode seems to foreshadow the powers of 
organization and persuasion which were afterwards developed 
to such good purpose, but at the time it led only to a painful 
vindication of the rights of property. 

Though no longer " too good to live," Ernest was an affec- 
tionate and lovable boy; his kindness to his little sisters was 
inexhaustible. He used to be fond, when seven or eight, of a 
book of Arctic travel — C. F. Hall's Life with the Eskimo, the 
pictures in which were an inexhaustible attraction, showing as 
they did ice-floes, towering bergs, snow houses, and the hunting 
of great beasts on land and sea. His first geography book also 
had pictures of Arctic and Antarctic bergs. 

He early acquired a love for poetry, as who would not with 
his heredity ? His father revelled in Tennyson, but read largely 
in the other poets, and his mother matched him in her tastes. 
It was a usual thing at meal-times in the Shackleton household 
in Dubhn and Sydenham, for the father to quote a verse 
and demand, " Where is that from ? " and there was some 
keenness of competition to be first with the correct reply. Be- 
tween themselves the children played enthusiastically at cap- 
ping verses ; so their memories were stored betimes, and verses 
rose spontaneous to meet every call in later life. At an early 
age Ernest used to recite Macaulay's " Lays," and from the 
fervour of his declamation there could be no doubt that he felt 
himself every inch Horatius keeping the bridge. It was the 
same with other favourite pieces, such as "Casablanca," "The 
Burial of Sir John Moore," " The Burial of Moses," " Ye Mariners 


of England," and " The Wreck of the Hesperus." All these 
were learned in the Dublin days and never forgotten. The 
passion for realizing the heroic almost went beyond the limits 
of unconscious dramatic art. A few years later he actually 
made his younger sisters beHeve that the Monument near 
London Bridge was erected in honour of himself and his chum 
Maurice Sale-Barker, because they had put out a big fire which 
threatened to destroy the city. This no doubt was simply to 
test the credulity of their simple faith ; but the significant 
thing is that even in early boyhood his soul yearned for great 
achievements and the honours they bring. 

The Dublin days soon passed. In 1884 Dr. Shackleton 
took his medical degree at Trinity College after a distinguished 
course of study, and he also passed as a member of the Royal 
College of Surgeons of England. In December 1884 Ernest 
Shackleton made his first voyage crossing the Irish sea in the 
.Banshee with his brother and seven sisters. Dr. Shackleton 
had now a family of nine, and the whole household moved to 
South Croydon in Surrey. His efforts to create a practice 
were rendered the harder by his adoption of homoeopathy, 
whereby he fell out of sympathy with the majority of his pro- 
fessional brethren, and it was no more easy for a medical man 
in the reign of Victoria to make his way against professional 
conventions than it was for the Yorkshire Quakers under 
Charles 11. to hold their own against the tyranny of conformity. 
But hke them he kept to his principles and only worked the 
harder. After six months. Dr. Shackleton left Croydon and 
took up his abode in Aberdeen House, 12 West Hill, Sydenham, 
adjoining St. Bartholomew's Church, half a mile from the 
Crystal Palace. Here he built up a practice, and lived for 
tliirty-two years, trusted and loved by his patients, and culti- 
vating his garden, for he was always a keen horticulturist, 
and became a great authority on roses — sought after as a judge 
in flower-shows all over the country. He found time in his 
busy days for Uterary work also, especially the reviewing of 
medical and scientific books. 

From the opposite side of the wide road it may be seen that 
the top of the steeply-sloping roof of Aberdeen House is flat. 


[P. MitchelL 

Ernest Henry Shackleton, aged ii. 

Face p. 23^ 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 23 

To this lofty and unrailed deck Ernest and the other children 
were not long in finding a way; and in their surreptitious 
antics there they earned many a thrill of real danger escaped 
by luck rather than circumspection. In the autumn of 1885 
Ernest, who had hitherto shared the instruction given by the 
governess at home, took a great step in his career. He began 
to attend Fir Lodge Preparatory School, a few hundred yards 
from his home, where Miss Higgins presided with firmness and 
originality over her charges. On the first day one feature of 
the discipHne dehghted him, as he was not incHned to the fault 
on which it was exercised. Miss Higgins enforced the rule that 
every boy who gave way to tears should expiate his weakness 
by nursing a doll in full view of the class. 

He was now a sturdy, broad-shouldered boy of nearly eleven, 
full of life and noise, with an accent that, despite the parental 
care which had refined it by comparison with the brogue of 
DubHn, struck the ears of Londoners as terribly Irish. Thrown 
suddenly amongst the smart little Cockneys, whose fathers were 
somethings or even somebodies in the City, the young Irishman 
would have been doomed to the nickname Paddy but he had 
been forestalled, there was a Paddy there already, so he had to 
answer to Mike, and Mike or Micky he remained to some of his 
dearest friends to the end of his days. Mike, a kindly but faintly 
contemptuous name, was partly superseded by the altogether 
respectful Fighting Shackleton, an unconscious echo of his father's 
Old Hall days and of the Border wars six centuries earlier. This 
proud title was conferred after an impetuous attack on a bully 
who was tormenting a much smaller boy. 

Of his last year at Fir Lodge, Mr. S. G. Rhodes writes : 

"He was a general favourite by reason of his rather quiet, 
sensible ways. He was always a chum of mine, but the only 
incident standing out clearly in my memory is the fact that our 
schoolfellows decided that on St. Patrick's Day Mike and I were 
to have a scrap in honour of the sacred memory of St. Patrick. 
This we had, much to the elation and amusement of the rest of 
the school, and I believe entirely to our own enjoyment." 

A photograph taken in 1886 shows Ernest hauling on a rope 
in a photographer's setting of a ship's deck ; a broad hint as to 


a secret inclination for the sea which had come upon him. That 
he already knew much of travel and exploration may be gathered 
from an interview published in M.A.P. in 1909, when he 
is reported as saying : " I have always been interested in Polar 
Exploration. I can date my first interest in the subject to the 
time when I was about ten. So great was my interest that I 
had read almost everything about North and South Polar 

In the Summer Term of 1887 Mike passed on to Dulwich 
College as a day boarder, and here he remained until the end of 
the Lent Term 1890, making remarkably little impression either 
on his masters or on most of his companions. A day boy, of 
course, has much less chance than a full boarder of being moulded 
by the traditions of a public school, and to one not over-well 
prepared by earlier education and living in so vivacious and 
unconventional a family as he did, the school life must have been 
somewhat uncongenial. He was certainly a poor scholar, 
always in a form the average age of which was about a year less 
than his own, and in the class lists his name was almost always 
far south of the equator and sometimes perilously near the pole. 
Only in his last term did he attain the position of fifth amongst 
thirty-one boys, his previous term having left him in the more 
usual place of twenty- fourth, amongst thirty. This proves that if 
there had been a strong enough incitement he could have done 
very well ; but somehow the masters failed to touch the spring 
which controlled his ambition. The earlier reports of his form- 
masters abound in such phrases as "he has not yet fully exerted 
himself," " wants waking up, is rather listless," " not a very clear- 
headed boy yet," " often sinks into idleness," " must remember 
the importance of accuracy " ; but they almost all go on to say 
that with increased attention he might do well, and that his 
abilities were good. The Headmaster found him " backward for 
his age." The boy's heart was anywhere but in his work until 
his last term. Even his schoolfellows remember him dimly, one 
as " doing very little work, but if there was a scrap on he was 
usually in it." Another, as "a. cheery though not exuberant 
sort of fellow." 

Mr. John Q. Rowett says : " We used to walk to school 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 25 

together very often, but I was never in the same form with him 
at Dulwich College, as he was three years older than me and was in 
a higher form. He was always full of life and jokes, but was never 
very fond of lessons, and I remember we had great difficulty 
with our modern and classical languages. I was a terrible 
duffer at Greek, and he used to help me sometimes ; while I had 
a friend who knew German very well, and I used to get hints 
from him which I passed on to Shackleton." 

The kindly help was of small avail, for the judicial summing 
up in the next report ran, " The results of the German examina- 
tion were disastrous. To set against this there has been excellent 
work in French." 

He entered heartily into the school games, especially cricket, 
in which he was something of an enthusiast, always holding 
the game in high esteem for its value as training. Football, too, 
had its attractions ; and as he was a big boy for his age and always 
keen when his spirit was roused by exertion, he probably did 
well in it. He excelled in gymnastics, and delighted in feats 
on the trapeze. All through his school years he was, like most 
boys, a collector of all sorts of things. He was observant on 
his walks, and picked up fossils and minerals ; he never tired 
of hunting for " gold " in coal or slates, collecting the bright 
yellow cubes of iron pyrites as some approximation to hidden 
treasure. He would have responded heartily to instruction 
in Nature study, but there is no record of his receiving any. 
At home he was devoted to carpentry, his most ambitious effort 
being the erection of a wooden hut in the garden of Aberdeen 
House big enough for grown-up people to enter. When the roof 
collapsed under undue strains he demolished the hut and used 
the material to build an effective switchback railway from the 
drawing-room window to the garden. He explored the whole 
district round Sydenham on his bicycle to the radius of a day's 
journey, and occasionally made longer trips with a school friend, 
spending some days away. 

The story of those days would not be complete without a 
paragraph of secret history, the revelation of which is no longer 
an indiscretion. Mike was addicted to playing truant from 
school, and we may assume that he was versed in the art of 


plausible excuses both at school and at home. He was the 
leader of a sworn band, other members of which were Arthur 
Griffiths (" Griff " for short), Ned Sleep and Chris Kay. With 
such names they could not help playing at the hunt for hidden 
treasure on desolate islands, the chosen haunt being a strip 
of private wood adjoining the railway. Many a long day they 
spent there, cowering in a hollow under the root of a great tree, 
speaking in whispers, for might not the next lair hide the lurking 
shapes of Ben Gunn, Black Dog, old Pew, and even Long John 
Silver himself? — ^in that wood in those days time and space, 
fact and fiction were a continuum of romance. All things there 
were held in common by the four, and the properties in the 
drama that was being lived included a revolver with cartridges, 
an air-gun, a flute, a concertina, and the hull of a large model 
boat, the rigging and altering of which gave rise to lengthy 
discussions and very unsatisfactory results. Food was stored 
up also, for missing school meant doing without dinner, and 
there was a box of the cheapest cigarettes on the market, which 
Mike smoked with the best of them, and once when cash was 
available a bottle of cooking sherry was smuggled in for a grand 
carouse. This Mike would not touch, and the others before 
long regretted their rashness. All the talk was of adventure, 
and many a rousing tale of the sea did Mike read aloud to his 
comrades, all of whom resolved to be sailors ; and remarkable 
as it may appear, all four grew up to follow the sea. 

Three of the band once, when in funds, bought third returns 
to London Bridge, and after many rebufk from pohcemen at 
the gates, managed to get into one of the docks and roamed 
about all day among the ships, trying now and again on a saiUng 
craft to volunteer as cabin boys. This faiHng, they boarded a 
big steamer, where the chief steward was engaging his staff 
of men and boys : here they fell into the queue of apph cants ; 
but when they reached the great man they were greeted with a 
fatherly smile, and told to hurry home before they were missed. 
One day in the docks was not enough, however, so the boys 
walked the streets till late, then slept in a van under the arches 
of London Bridge Station, and spent the next day by the riverside 
gazing at the ships going out to all the wonders of the world. 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 27 

There had been talks at home as to Ernest's future career. 
His father hoped that he would adopt his own profession and 
prepare for the study of medicine ; but the boy recoiled from 
the prospect of years of heavy study followed by a lifetime of 
dull routine. He was all for freedom and adventure ; the 
world was so full of possibilities that there must be some short- 
cut to wealth and fame, some chance at least of a merry Hfe of 
constant change. The Navy naturally suggested itself, and 
faihng that there was always the mercantile marine. No other 
career was really open to a boy of spirit. If in the seething 
mind of the boy, in those* years of troubled thought in which 
school drudgery held so small a place, there had been a recorder 
as skilled and careful as the form-masters who were shut entirely 
out from it, we could speak with certainty where we can now 
only conjecture. But we cannot be wrong in finding great 
vague thoughts of the future he longed for. Every evening as 
he followed his lengthening shadow down the long hill from 
the Crystal Palace on his way from Dulwich College, he might 
see the image of his mind projecting himself farther and farther 
beyond the pleasant suburb out into the great world. Had his 
father been less sympathetic and far-seeing, the boy might 
very well have run away to sea as the legend ran even in his 
lifetime. The father of a schoolfellow, a retired master mariner, 
gave his advice as to how best to begin a sea-going life, for the 
hope of joining the Navy had to be abandoned, and Ernest 
approached his father's cousin, the Rev. G. W. Woosnam, later 
Archdeacon of Macclesfield, who was superintendent of the 
Mersey Mission to Seamen, for an introduction to a shipping 
firm. On ascertaining that Dr. Shackleton was willing to 
apprentice his son if his fitness for a sea life were proved by a 
trial voyage, and if a good ship and captain could be found, 
Mr. Woosnam arranged with the North-Westem Shipping 
Company, then under the same management as the White Star 
Line and flying the same house-flag, to allow young Shackleton 
to make a voyage on probation, with the rating of a Boy, 
but with the treatment, uniform, and accommodation of an 
Apprentice. This left him free to continue to follow the sea, 
or to give it up at the end of the voyage. 


At the beginning of 1890, three months' formal notice of 
withdrawal was given to Dulwich College, and the last term 
began for a boy with a new purpose in his life. The effect was 
magical. But for the " disastrous " German, his reports were 
excellent. In Mathematics he was third in twenty-five — for 
mathematics are the basis of navigation. This earned from the 
form-master : " He has given much satisfaction in every way. 
There has been a marked improvement both in his work and in 
his behaviour." In History and Literature he was second in a 
class of eighteen ; in Chemistry, third in twenty-seven. At the 
end of this final school report the Headmaster wrote : "I hope 
that he will do well." Nineteen years later Ernest Shackleton 
presided at the prize-giving at Dulwich College, and after 
receiving many compliments for having done well as an explorer, 
delighted the majority of the boys by exclaiming that he had 
never been so near a Dulwich College prize before. And on 
his death the memorial notice in the College magazine opened 
with the words : " Sir Ernest Shackleton was without doubt 
our most famous Old Boy." We fear that the school education 
of the most famous Old Boy had less to do with his success in 
life than had the influence of his inherited qualities and the 
literary atmosphere of his home, which stimulated his insatiable 
love of miscellaneous reading. Nevertheless, he retained to 
his death a deep affection for his old school and its masters. 

To some of his reading during his schooldays we get a clue 
in the books presented to him by various friends. In one of 
these, Hugh Miller's Schools and Schoolmasters, he had marked 
a passage relating to caves, possibly with the old thought of 
hidden treasure : " For one short seven days — to borrow 
Carlyle's phraseology — they were our own and no other man's." 
Another book read during his Dulwich College days was Samuel 
Smiles' Life of a Scotch Naturalist ; the famous Thomas Edwards, 
whose love of nature might just as easily have made him a 
poacher as the man of science he was. As a boy Ernest was 
deeply religious, and keen in the propaganda.of the Band of Hope, 
lecturing on Temperance to the servants, and inducing them to 
sign the pledge by his irresistible winningness of appeal. 

School was over and the sea career was accepted. The old 


Ernes'I' Henr' 


White Star Line. 

{Brcnvi, Barnes 6^ Bell. 

IN Uniform of 

Face p. 29. 

EARLY LIFE. 1874-1890 29 

brown chest, which had started down Channel with his grand- 
father Gavan nearly fifty years before, was hunted out and 
packed with the modem outfit for the sea. Before saiHng he 
was photographed in the White Star uniform, and the picture 
here reproduced, with its air of self-confidence and determina- 
tion, shows that he was resolved to rise to the height of his 
opportunities ; and since his jacket cuffs were held firmly behind 
his back, who could tell from his countenance that the gold 
loop and broad stripes of an Admiral of the Fleet were not 
already sprouting there ? 



" He rose at dawn'and, fired with hope. 
Shot o'er the seething harbour-bar, 
And reach'd the ship and caught the rope. 
And whistled to the morning star. 

God help me ! save I take my part 

Of danger on the roaring sea, 
A devil rises in my heart. 

Far worse than any death to me." 


ON 19th April 1890 young Shackleton travelled alone to 
Liverpool, where he was met by Captain J. B. Hopkins, 
a friend of Mr. Woosnam's, who took him to the North- 
western Shipping Company's of&ce and saw him through the 
necessary prehminaries. Ten days later Mr. Woosnam left the 
boy cheery and happy on board the full-rigged ship Hoghton 
Tower, a fine clipper of 1600 tons, under the command of Captain 
Partridge, who was well known in all ports on the great sailing 
routes as a man of high character and kindly nature. On 30th 
April the tall ship was towed down the Mersey out into the 
Irish Sea, and set her sails for the long voyage to Valparaiso. 

The new Boy, who had never spent even a week from home 
except in the houses of relatives, naturally felt the contrast in his 
new hfe. The drunkenness of the sailors as they came on board 
horrified him, their language was no less shocking to one who 
came from a reUgious home. Added to this, the strange food, the 
rough surroundings, and the first lift of the sea might well have 
quenched the anticipatory enthusiasm for "a Hfe on the ocean 
wave." And there must have been something like despair in 
the boy's mind when he gazed at the masts and yards, the great 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 31 

wire stays, and the infinite clusters of ropes coming from unknown 
attachments aloft and hung in hanks round the base of each 
mast, every one with a name of its own and a special use, but 
all unknown and unguessable, like the words in a Russian news- 
paper. There is no royal road to such learning, and young 
Shackleton had to be hcked into shape on board like any cub 
of a land-lubber. He knew that he had got his own way and 
complaint was useless, so he strove to adjust himself to his 
environment, repugnant as the drudgery of deck'-scrubbing and 
brass polishing might be, doggedly determined to see it through. 
His quick mind picked up the scraps of information flung at him ; 
he soon formed friendships and got the help that is never far 
from the anxious learner, and we may be sure that he was the 
merriest on board by the time the ship struck the trade-winds 
and entered the tropics. He was fortunate in his ship- 
mates. The captain was kind and considerate, having the 
apprentices to dinner with him occasionally, and bringing them 
into the cabin every Sunday evening for hymn-singing to the 
accompaniment of his flute, on which the boys thought him but 
an indifferent performer. The second mate, in whose watch 
Shackleton was, proved the falsity of first impressions, for 
though the boy disliked him greatly, in a week or two he 
recognized him as a real friend, and liked him better than any 
other ofiicer on board. In a letter addressed collectively to his 
" dearest Father, Mother, Grandmother, Brother and Sisters," 
Ernest says that he was afraid he would be laughed at when he 
said his prayers, " but the first night I took out my Bible to read 
they all stopped talking and laughing, and now every one of 
them reads theirs excepting a Roman Catholic, and he reads 
his prayer-book." 

He got over the slight sea-sickness, which was all that fell 
to his lot, in three days, and on the third day out went aloft to 
the upper topsail yard, and in a month he was " as much at home 
aloft as on deck." For many weeks the weather was perfect, 
the ship raced through the Trades, on one day making 300 miles 
— a good record even for the steamers which ply in the South 
Atlantic. The Canary Islands were passed on 13th May ; a huge 
dead whale was seen, and smelt, a few days later ; and the first 


flying fish, the first shark, and the torrential rain of the Doldrums 
were all duly chronicled. On 30th May St. Paul's Rocks were 
sighted, the first purely oceanic islets that Ernest Shackleton 
ever saw, and the last, for here the Quest was destined to bring 
him thirty-one years later. That night Father Neptune came 
on board with the full ceremonial of his court, and the new 
apprentices were tarred, shaved and ducked on crossing the 
Line, thus being formally admitted into the freedom of the Seas. 
In the course of the voyage he was initiated into the noble art 
of self-defence, and he never ceased to love boxing. 

The pleasant weather, which had made the hard Ufe of a j 
beginner comparatively easy, broke in June, and for six weeks 
the Hoghton Tower met a succession of furious gales which 
buffeted her off Cape Horn, blew away many of her sails, • 
smashed some of the lighter spars, carried away two boats, 
and inflicted serious injuries on many of the crew, the kindly 
second mate having his thigh broken. Shackleton narrowly \ 
escaped being struck by falling tackle ; but he came through un- 
hurt and was hardened by the experience. Twenty years later 
he said, in an interview published in The Captain: "During 
my first voyage I felt strongly drawn towards the mysterious 
South. During that voyage, which constituted one of the 
stiffest apprenticeships surely that ever a boy went through, 
we rounded Cape Horn in the depth of winter. It was one con- 
tinuous bhzzard all the way ; one wild whirl of stinging sleet 
and snow, and we were in constant peril of colliding with ice- 
bergs or even of foundering in the huge seas. Yet many a time, 
even in the midst of all this discomfort, my thoughts would 
go out to the southward, across that great expanse of southern 
sea, the loneliest tract of ocean in the wide world, the region 
which seemed to have been especially guarded against the 
approach of man by the Great Ice Barrier." 

It was a blissful thing to reach Valparaiso about the middle 
of August and catch a gUmpse of civiHzed life again. He made 
the acquaintance of a pleasant Scottish family with several 
daughters, " nice sensible girls, who don't fish for compliments 
though we give them many." The captain took him to dinner 
at the Consul's, where, he assured his father, he did not take any 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 33 

wine, as he was a teetotaller, but he skilfully completed the 
sentence by divulging the fact that he had been obliged to take 
to smoking in the bad weather off the Horn, where such indul- 
gence became a real necessity. The stay at Valparaiso was 
pleasant ; but on ist October the Hoghton Tower got under 
weigh and proceeded to the dreary tropical roadstead of Iquique, 
where she lay, discharging a cargo of hay and taking on a cargo 
of nitrates by boat, for six long weeks. It was a dismal hole, 
where it was unsafe to go on shore in the evening, " as the people 
would think nothing of sticking a knife into you." Moreover, 
there were no girls who could speak English. On the day before 
the ship left on her return voyage, Shackleton fell into the sea 
when sliding down a loosely tied rope into a boat, but he was 
observed and promptly rescued none the worse for the ducking. 
The experience of handling boats in a heavy surf at Iquique was 
invaluable in later Hfe, and it could never have been gained by 
easier methods. 

The Hoghton Tower got away from Iquique on ist December 
and called at Falmouth one day in March 1891, short of food 
and water, not to end her voyage, but merely to receive 
orders to proceed to Hamburg. Twenty years later Sir Ernest 
Shackleton was opening a Flower Show at Falmouth, and 
recalled his enjoyment on that earlier visit of a full meal 
of fresh eggs. 

It was near the end of April before the hardy young sailor, 
" grown and changed so," as he put it in a preparatory letter, got 
back to Liverpool. He had no complaint to make as to the ship, 
the captain or any one on board, but he had found the disciplined 
life irksome, and on landing was quite clear in his own mind that 
he would not go a voyage in that ship again. The captain said 
to Archdeacon Woosnam in the course of conversation soon 
after his return, " I expect he has not given you a very bright 
account of his life, but he is the most pig-headed, obstinate 
boy I have ever come across ; yet there is no real fault to 
find with him, and he can do his work right well, and though 
he may not want to come with me again, I am quite ready 
to take him." 

His home-coming was a surprise to his eight sisters, who 


rushed upon him as he entered the house. For a little while 
he was so overcome that he could not speak, but he soon 
recovered and played tricks on the family, pretending that 
he had forgotten how to eat in a civilized fashion, taking up 
his chop in his fingers and staring at the knives and forks as 
at strange implements. 

If his friends cherished the hope that young Shackleton had 
had enough of the sea, they were soon undeceived, and after 
two months at home he was formally indentured by his father 
as an apprentice to the North-Westem Shipping Company, and 
made ready for a new voyage in the old ship. He had never 
before enjoyed with such zest the comforts of home, the com- 
panionship of his worshipping sisters, or the glimpses of old 
schoolfellows at Dulwich ; but his experiences of nearly a year 
abroad were limited to the ship, the phenomena of sea and sky, 
and brief trips ashore at Valparaiso and Iquique. 

The Hoghton Tower sailed from Cardiff on 25th June 1891, 
with a cargo of patent fuel for Iquique, under the command of 
Captain Robert Robinson, a firmer if less genial master than 
the kindly flute-player of the last voyage. There were seven 
other apprentices in the half-deck, but only two of them had 
longer experience of the sea than Shackleton, and he was the 
senior of the three in the second mate's watch, and thus escaped 
the worst drudgery. Some minor hardships below he miti- 
gated by forethought, and he set much store by a little brown 
teapot and spirit stove, which enabled him to make tea, for that 
supplied on board without sugar or milk was quite undrinkable. 
A fine cake presented by the Sydenham cook Wcis devoured by 
his companions while several days of sea-sickness confined him 
to a diet of milk biscuits. 

A long journal letter detailed the events of the outward 
voyage. There was more work, less fun, and stricter discipline 
than last time. No Sunday hymn-singing nor dinners with 
the captain, no visit from Father Neptune even. Shackleton 
needed all his determination to keep up his Bible-reading, for 
this time the other fellows, unrestrained from above, were 
scoffers. He was disheartened by the readiness with which 
the sailors took the pledge afloat and broke it on shore ;] he 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 85 

could find no one but a negro sailor with whom he could talk of 
religion except in controversy. Nor was he better off in his 
literary aspirations : no one else cared for poetry, and the only 
poetical work on board was a copy of Longfellow. He read it 
until he knew every Hne, but he sighed for Milton. On the 
balance, Shackleton was certainly struggling with far more 
successes than failures against a hard and degrading environ- 
ment. Amongst the books he had taken with him was one 
with readings for every day, Daily Help for Daily Need, inscribed 
" Ernest Shackleton, with love and all good wishes from L. D. 
Sale-Barker." Mrs. Sale-Barker, well known at that time as a 
successful writer of books for young people, had long been a 
close friend of the Shackleton family, and her death before his 
return from this voyage was a real sorrow to Ernest. Another 
book, Thayer's Tact, Push and Principle, bears the inscription : 
" Ernest Henry Shackleton, with warmest good wishes and 
earnest prayer for his temporal and eternal welfare from his 
clergyman and friend Henry Stevens." Such were the influ- 
ences which reinforced the effects of the home surroundings. He 
also had with him several of Scott's novels and Thackeray's 
Vanity Fair, which he lent to the first mate, who wanted to 
read it particularly, as he had heard it was the best written 
book in the English language. He also read a great deal of 
history in his early voyages. Motley's Rise of the Dutch Republic 
he never forgot. 

His keen observation fastened on every new feature of sea 
or sky ; he describes his first sight of a fog-bow, and he revelled 
in the tropical sunsets : 

" Many a painter would have given half of what he possessed 
to have been able to catch the fading tints of the red and golden 
sunset we had last night. The red and golden gleams gradually 
fading away into a deep purple, and far away almost on the edge 
of the horizon was the white speck of a homeward ship. . . . 
All I say is, if you wish to see Nature robed in her mantle of 
might, look at a storm at sea ; if you want to see her robed in 
her mantle of glory, look at a sunset at sea." 

The men, recognizing his improved status in his watch, 
flattered him by caUing him the fourth mate, and the second 


mate roused him to greater interest in the working of the sails 
by holding out a prospect of being picked as third mate for the 
next voyage. So two months sped happily on the whole until 
the ship reached the Horn, and then for a dreadful month obser- 
vation, hterature and ambition were submerged under a desper- 
ate struggle with storms and contrary winds on deck, and with 
invading waters and crashing gear below, making work almost 
unendurable and meals all but impossible. The ship was 
laid-to for days at a time ; one officer and eight men were dis- 
abled by accidents and kept to their bunks ; one man was washed 
overboard in a storm in which no boat could be launched, and 
Shackleton, too, had to lay up with a fierce attack of lumbago 
after weeks in wet clothes and a wet bed. It is a sailor's 
superstition that sea-birds are the ghosts of dead mariners 
watching the ships to see how their successors fare, and we may 
be sure that if the shades of the three generations of Ballitore 
were following the Hoghton Tower amongst the birds, they would 
have blessed the courage and steadfastness of their descendant, 
while it may be some " haughty old albatross cruisin' around," 
incarnating the spirit of a "turbulent Fitzmaurice " would 
have had cause to hail some piece of boyish " divilry " or 
reckless swagger as worthy of a chip of his old block. 

It was past the middle of October when the Hoghton Tower 
dropped her anchor off the arid shore and bare mountains of 
Iquique. Here the old toil of landing and loading cargo by 
boats went on for two months, made the longer and harder for 
Shackleton, for he was seized with a bad attack of dysentery, 
and the coarse talk and disgusting songs of the apprentices 
who visited him from other ships made him terribly homesick. 
He welcomed the newspapers which were awaiting him, for 
politics gave them something decent to argue about. 

Of the return voyage of four months there are few particulars 
available, save for a reference to " terrible weather south of the 
Horn nearly among the ice," and it was 15th May 1892 when 
the Hoghton Tower re-entered the Mersey. Next day Shackleton 
reached Sydenham thoroughly tired of the ship, and eager to 
make the most of his brief hoHday in the home where he was 
so heartily welcomed. Too effusively welcomed indeed, for he 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 37 

found the house beflagged for his home-coming, and passers-by 
wondering what pubHc event was being commemorated. This 
he insisted must never be done again on any subsequent return 
from the sea. 

The month passed more quickly than any other of the year. 
There were old friends to see, old haunts to revisit, cricket to 
watch at Dulwich College, all the sights of London, with their 
attractions enhanced a hundredfold, the delights of fresh food 
daintily served, of the prize roses in the garden, of the old 
famihar books. His two years at sea had made the youth a 
stranger on the land. When he accompanied his friends along 
the streets they had to make him walk next the curb, as without 
a sharp line to steer by, his gait, habituated to the heaving deck, 
rolled so that he became a danger to those he met. It was 
not a month of unmixed pleasure. The ship had grown hateful 
to him, and he would gladly have changed to another, but 
the policy of not offending the powers at Liverpool, and the 
fears of Dr. Shackleton that he might be transferred to a 
vessel bound for unhealthy ports, induced him to go back 
to the Hoghton Tower and her strict skipper ; but he went 
very reluctantly. 

The new voyage was to India, and his friends provided many 
introductions to people in Calcutta, which were of no avail, for 
the voyage turned out to be to Madras for orders. His com- 
panions in the half-deck were five old shipmates and two new 
apprentices. The third mate of the previous voyage returned 
in the same capacity, so Shackleton had no promotion and no 
more congenial company than before. One of the sailors had 
been deck-boy on the Irish packet Banshee on which Shackleton 
had made his first voyage to England. The officers were much 
stricter than on the last voyage from the first day on board, 
and, experienced sailor as he was by now, Shackleton confessed 
to being more homesick than ever before. He besought his 
parents to ask every one to write to him at every port. He 
sailed on 27th June, the ship having a cargo of salt. He crossed 
the equator in five weeks, sighting the coast of Brazil a week 
later ; then, encountering a heavy gale in the South-East Trades, 
the ship rushed through the water at 14 knots for some exciting 


hours. On 2nd September, when in the neighbourhood of the 
Cape of Good Hope, a terrific storm struck the ship before sail 
could be shortened while Shackleton was at the helm. The 
sails spUt, the ship, despite all his strength on the wheel, 
flew into the wind and shipped enormous seas, deluging the 
cabins and the crew's quarters. She lay absolutely helpless 
under bare poles ; it was impossible to set the smallest sail 
or do anything to help the situation : no one expected 
to see the morning. " All that long dreary night," said 
Shackleton, " I never heard an oath or any blasphemy from 
the men. God had frightened them ; they were too near 
death to swear." 

They were half-way across the South Indian Ocean before the 
bad weather ceased, then turning northward in one fortunate 
week they logged 1600 miles in six days ; the old ship might have 
raced a steamer for the time. Madras was reached near the 
end of October, and the orders were for Chittagong, east of the 
Ganges-Bramaputra delta, not for Calcutta. The ship lay for 
two months in the river opposite a little village miles below the 
town of Chittagong. There was some interest in watching 
the picturesque costumes of the brightly-clothed villagers by 
day and the fireflies, " Uke sparks from a blacksmith's shop," 
at night. Only one excursion ashore is reported, a rhinoceros 
hunt with the Commissioner and two other English gentlemen ; 
but the description of the jungle is not very elaborate, and no 
mention is made of the bag secured. Most of the time was 
spent on board working cargo, and Shackleton confesses in his 
letters that he was sick of the place and sick of the ship. He 
says that he had written fifty letters since arriving and had only 
received thirty-six. By every mail he besought those at home 
to stir up all friends and make sure that he would receive forty 
letters on arriving at Mauritius — all separate letters, he insisted, 
and no post -cards. Possibly he felt that his spirits would be 
raised, not only by the evidence of his friends' continued good- 
will, but by his comrades seeing that he was so important in 
the world beyond the ship that he received the heaviest mail 
of any soul on board. Be this as it may, he went through a 
period of acute depression at Christmas, and there was no 

^— vJ 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 , 39 

prospect of relief in the New Year. The future looked to him 
as dark as the present, and he little suspected that while he was 
giving way to his nearest approach to despair at the head of the 
Bay of Bengal, four Dundee whalers had entered the ice of the 
Weddell Sea in the effort to establish a southern whale fishery. 
They were doomed to disappointment too ; but, nevertheless, 
their adventure started the shuttle of Fate which was, nine 
years later, to twine the thread of Shackleton's life with the 
Antarctic Circle. 

Early in January 1893 the Hoghfon Tower got her anchor 
up, and was being towed down the river, when an explosion on 
the tug cast her loose, and the anchor was let go just in time 
to prevent her from running ashore. Later the strong tide 
made her drag, and she took the ground, but without damage, 
and another tug soon got her off and out to sea. In three days 
she crossed the Bay of Bengal and entered the landlocked 
harbour of False Point, reputed to be the best in India between 
Calcutta and Bombay. Here she was to load rice for Mauritius 
— a horrible job, for every one of the 2600 bags, each weighing 
170 lb., that were to be loaded each day had to be passed along 
the deck from hand to hand, and Shackleton excuses the brevity 
and illegibiHty of his letters by the terrible state of his hands 
frayed by the rough gunny bags. That such a system of load- 
ing cargo could exist even on saiUng ships in the last decade of 
the Victorian age, so renowned for its mechanical achievements, 
is not a little surprising. 

The loading over, the ship proceeded on 24th January to 
Port Louis, Mauritius, where Shackleton had httle enjoyment, 
for he, like many of the crew, fell ill with Mauritius fever, and 
in spite of consulting a local homoeopath, he had to go to sea at 
the end of March still ill ; and his case proved one of the worst 
on board, he being one of the three still on the sick list when 
the Hoghton Tower, after rounding the south of AustraUa and 
passing through Bass Strait, reached Newcastle, N.S.W., on 
29th April. Here he speedily recovered, and got into touch 
with some of his Austrahan relatives, so that things began to 
wear a more home-like aspect. The people of Newcastle with 
whom he came in contact were warm-hearted and hospitable 


to a surprising degree, and never did they show kindness to 
one who felt more grateful. 

Newcastle, N.S.W., was far from home, but on leaving it, 
after a six weeks' stay, the Hoghton Tower was still outward- 
bound, for she received orders to proceed to Chilean ports, 
and her way lay across the broadest and loneliest stretch of the 
Pacific Ocean. Half-way across, a furious storm descended 
upon the ship and partly dismasted her. A man had died 
suddenly the day before, and his body was laid out in the saloon 
and watched by the apprentices in turn during the night, their 
vigil being no ceremonial homage to the dead, but the grue- 
some necessity of keeping the rats away from the body. The 
superstitious sailors looked on the death as an omen of evil, 
and they had a gloomy satisfaction in the result. We give 
Shackleton's own description of the storm : 

" It was my look-out, which is kept right in the fore part of 
the ship. I had only been there for about ten minutes, and as 
it began to rain I put on my oilskins and the second mate began 
to take in the light sails such as royals. It began to thunder 
fearfully, and the sky was ht up with the most vivid forked 
hghtning when, all of a sudden, a whirlwind struck the fore 
part of the ship ; there was a Winding flash of Hghtning and a 
peal of thunder that would wake the dead ; my cap blew off, 
and I was down to leeward looking for it when I heard a tearing, 
creishing sound above my head. I had just time to crawl up to 
windward, for the ship was heeUng over, when crash down came 
the fore-royal mast, top-gallant mast, and top-mast ; the heavy 
wire stays which held them up struck the deck just where I had 
been a moment before and rebounded into the air about thirty 
feet. It was a miracle that I was not killed. By the next flash 
I could see that the main-royal mast and yard had also gone, 
then the rain came down thick and fast and the wind howled 
and shrieked ; the hghtning flashed and played about the 
rigging. Nature seemed to be pouring out the vials of her wrath 
on the poor wreck-strewn ship ; alongside was top-gallant mast 
and yards battering about, threatening every moment to knock 
a hole in the ship's side. At last dayhght came and the sliip 
looked a pitiful spectacle, the sails nearly all torn to shreds. 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 41 

Not only was damage done to the ship, but in the half-deck, 
the ship being thrown on her side, the chests took charge and 
one heavy one dashed into my box of curios, smashing coral 
pipes and seeds, chatties, everything, and what was not smashed 
was destroyed by water which filled the house ; but I can say 
nothing, it was a good job we got off with our lives. Directly 
after we were dismasted all the men and officers came running 
forward to see if I was alive. . . . For four days we worked 
clearing the wreck, snatching a wink of sleep whenever we could 
at night, and after a bit we started to go ahead again, but much 
more slowly, for we were minus masts and sails, and since then 
we have been jogging along, first gales then calms." 

Two months after leaving AustraHa the ship was lying in the 
fine harbour of Talcahuano, Chile, 250 miles south of Valparaiso 
and the port of the picturesque old city of Concepcion. After 
discharging some of the Newcastle coal the ship was ordered to 
Tocapilla, a little seaport about 100 miles south of Iquique ; and 
here she lay at anchor through the whole of October and No- 
vember, working cargo by boats. The town offered few attrac- 
tions and many dangers. The local police had been worried 
beyond such endurance as they might normally be expected to 
display, by the conduct of drunken sailors from the ships lying 
in the bay, and one Sunday evening as he was returning from 
service in the little Mission Hall, Shackleton fell in with a party 
from his ship engaged in a tussle with the local authorities. 
He naturally intervened to get the men off ; but as he knew 
no Spanish his arguments were quite possibly of a provocative 
kind and the police turned on him. He ran, they followed with 
drawn swords, but Shackleton succeeded in reaching the house 
of a friendly Scot who knew him as a Good Templar and accom- 
panied him to the police office, where he convinced the authorities 
that the young man was neither drunk nor riotous, and the 
incident ended with credit to all parties. The horrible mono- 
tony of the life at Tocapilla, for such lively scenes were rare, 
was almost unendurable, and Shackleton got ill again and was 
greatly depressed. 

But at this very time another link in the chain of his destiny 
was being welded. Since the day following his birth the seas 


within the Antarctic Circle had been secluded from human sight. 
Now as he lay despondent at Tocapilla, far away, 3000 miles to 
the south of him, two Norwegian sealers, who had followed the 
Dundee fleet of the previous year to the South Shetlands, had 
succeeded in crossing the Antarctic Circle — Larsen in the Jason 
in the west of the Weddell Sea, Eversen in the Hertha on the 
other side of Graham Land. 

At the beginning of December the Hoghton Tower got away 
from the hated anchorage bound for Queenstown for orders, but 
her ill-luck followed her and she fought for weeks against con- 
trary winds. A violent storm proved too much for her. The 
masts, perhaps not as strong as those lost earlier in the year, 
were carried away again, and on the last day of the year she 
struggled like a wounded bird into Valparaiso Bay. Shackleton 
welcomed the New Year of 1894, for the long exposure had 
brought back his Mauritius fever, and in the hospitable British 
community of Valparaiso he found good cheer and the kindest 
nursing. Mr. C. P. Brown took him to his own house and 
treated him more hke a son than a stranger. Restored to health 
by the careful nursing and cheered in his heart by feeling himself 
amongst understanding friends once more, Shackleton reflected 
with complacency that he had received over 300 letters that 
voyage and had written nearly 200 ; surely the champion corre- 
spondent of the ship, if not of the mercantile marine ! He had 
not been the only sufferer. The stem captain had broken down, 
and was obhged to hand over the command to another and return 
to England by steamer. 

On the way home round the Horn the albatrosses which 
followed the Hoghton Tower one day were probably fljdng round 
the Norwegian sealing fleet the next, and all the way home 
through the Atlantic the ships were within a few hundred miles 
of one another, but they threw no shadow of coming events. 

Before the end of June the ship reached Queenstown, and as 
her orders were for Dunkirk, and she could not enter that harbour 
before the high tides of the next full moon, she remained in the 
Irish port long enough to allow Shackleton to visit his relatives 
at Moone, and to replenish his stock of clothes, entirely worn 
out on his two years' cruise. The old sea-chest had been smashed 

THE HOGHTON TOWER. 1890-1894 48 

beyond repair in the great gale in mid-Pacific ; but he had 
been working hard at navigation on the homeward journey, 
and in asking his father for the necessary advance he proudly 
declared that next year he would be no further expense. 
The young man had served his apprenticeship and realized 
his own powers. 

He was home again on 3rd July, thankful to have seen the 
last of his first ship and her coarse and uncongenial company, 
overjoyed to be with the parents, brother and Sisters whom he 
loved so dearly. On his return, or soon after, his sister Ethel 
mentioned that she had made the acquaintance of Miss Emily 
Dorman, to whom she had formed a strong attachment ; as a 
boy he had followed this girl with admiring eyes, and although 
he had never met her he had hot forgotten. 

He passed the Board of Trade examination for second 
mate on 4th October. The long, rough training was over 
and the work of his life was about to begin. The boy had 
become a man, and from the troubled waters of his mind the 
diverse elements of his character were already beginning to 
crystallize in forms so brilliant but so different, that few who 
were capable of recognizing and appreciating one of them could 
understand how the others were also present. Tenderness and 
sternness, impulsiveness and perseverance, pride in work and 
pleasure in show, with many others, were all appearing there 
side by side, and he was beginning to learn how to exhibit them 
to the best purpose. The obstinacy which his first skipper took 
to be pig-headed was only the first clumsy exercise of his splendid 
endowment of endurance which was the glory of his life. His 
letters now bore the family crest and its never-forgotten motto, 
" By Endurance I Conquer." If it made him slow to conform 
to a new discipUne, it also enabled him to retain his faith in God 
and the decencies of life, where many a lad has lost them. As 
his experience grew he no longer tried to convert the drunken 
sailors, and his own religion sank inward to be expressed in 
conduct and kindness rather than in words ; but he had got to 
know the sailor-man thoroughly, and learned how to fin^S the 
staunchness to duty and simple goodness of heart under the 
dirty crust ; and if he had to give his orders in the words that 


sailors understand, his own mind was always at home with 
the poets. He used to say that his communion with the stars 
when alone on watch in the clear nights at sea so impressed his 
mind with the austere purity of Nature, that he could find no 
attraction in the doubtful haunts of foreign ports ; the thought 
of the stars barred the way. 


" See the shaking funnels roar, with the Peter at the fore. 
And the fenders grind and heave. 
And the derricks clack and grate as the tackle hooks the crate, 
And the fall-rope whines through the sheave. 
It's ' Gang-plank up and in,' dear lass, 
It's ' Hawsers warp her through ! ' 
And it's ' All clear aft ' on the old trail, our own trail, the 

out trail, 
We're backing down on the Long Trail — the trail that is always 

RuDYARD Kipling. 

ONE day in the autumn of 1894 Shackleton called on an old 
schoolfellow, Mr. Owen T. Bume, who was in business 
in London, and said, " Owen, can you find me a job ? 
You must know a lot of shipowners, and I want a job at sea." 
They went together to the office of the Welsh Shire Line, where, 
after some questions, the manager offered a fourth mate's 
billet on the Monmouthshire, which was gratefully accepted. 
A few days later Mr. Burne met the managing partner, who 
greeted him with, " That's a rum fellow, Shackleton ! " and in 
response to an inquiry as to what he had done, went on, "He 
went down to see the ship, and said he didn't like the fourth 
mate's quarters, but would go as third ! " Mr. Bume expressed 
regret, and asked the shipowner what he had done about it, 
and to his pleased surprise heard, " Oh, I rather Hked the chap 
and gave it him." 

Thus Ernest Henry Shackleton found himself on 15th 
November 1894 steaming down London River as third mate 
of the Monmouthshire, a steamer of 1900 tons register, bound 
for the Far East. The ships of this company, though always 


trading to China and Japan, did not run a regular service at 
fixed dates ; but tramped the seas wherever their cargo could 
find a market, so that the voyages were uncertain in length, 
and might be prolonged Uke those of a saiUng ship. Passengers 
were carried sometimes, and there was a much more varied 
life on board than in the Hoghton Tower. Shackleton probably 
valued most the seclusion of a cabin to himself after being 
cooped up for four years with a crowd of noisy and ill-mannered 
youths. He could read and write now undisturbed during his 
watch below. He had a good stock of books with him, including 
poetry, novels, and works of general interest. A neighbour at 
home had given him Brassey's Naval Annual, his father's coach- 
man presented Burke's Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful, 
inscribed, "To Master Ernest from Johnson." Another gift 
was a popular book on " Famous Men of Science," wherein he 
had noted that Galileo's birthday was the same as his own. 

The Mediterranean opened before him for the first time ; he 
had his first glimpse of the desert in passing through the Suez 
Canal, and all the interest of the rocky coasts and flaming stars of 
the Red Sea; and his imagination glorified the harbours and towns 
of the Straits, China and Japan, so old and rich and mysterious 
compared with the stark modernity of the nitrate ports of Chile. 

While Shackleton was enjoying the pleasant warmth of 
Indian seas in January 1895, a Norwegian whaler had forced its 
way through the ice-pack south of New Zealand. This was 
the Antarctic, commanded by Captain Kristensen, with an 
AustraUan volunteer named Borchgrevink on board ; and they, 
for the first time since Ross in 1843, were gazing on the great 
mountains of Victoria Land, and first of all men they had set 
foot on the soil of the great Antarctic continent. Shackleton 
could not know of this, but his thoughts were away in the 
Frigid Zone, for he was hammering out a set of verses entitled 
" A Tale of the Sea," in which he pictured a long procession of 
ships of all ages coming out of the north — on each 

. . . Nailed to the rotting flagstaff 

The old white ensign flew. 
Badge of our English freedom 

Over all waters blue. 


The verse halted somewhat, but the intention was fine, and one 
stanza bears quotation : 

Then they told me a wondrous tale, 

And I strove to write it down 
But my pen refused its duty. 

And I lost my chance for renown. 
But since that vision left me 

I have looked on those sailor men 
As worthy the brightest idyll 

That poet could ever pen. 

It was not all dreaming. The captain required the third 
officer to take daily observations for position along with his 
superiors, and Dr. Shackleton had sent out a sextant and other 
instruments to meet the returning Monmouthshire in April, but 
the parcel arrived empty. It is amusing to note that Shackle- 
ton's letters to his father on this disaster are curt and clear 
as befits a man, no longer the flowing explanations and lamenta- 
tions of a boy. 

The ship was now bound to American ports, and she visited 
New York, Newport News, and Femandino, Florida, where 
she loaded up for Hamburg, Antwerp, and London. Shackleton 
had a great deal to do in the ports, checking the cargo ; and he 
relates with pride that there was not a package lost at New 
York of 4000 tons of the most miscellaneous cargo that ever 
entered that port, and he had talHed half of it. This was 
a notable feat, showing unceasing vigilance and accuracy, as 
any one who has seen the rate at which a steamer discharges 
can judge, on reflecting that every individual package had to 
be identified and noted without delaying the work. May and 
June were passed in the American ports, and late in July 
Shackleton came back to Sydenham, pleased with his seven 
months' labours, and bearing proudly a brood of young alligators 
as domestic pets. He kept these little monsters in the house 
and garden until the threat of a domestic strike, for the maids 
shrieked with terror when the creatures smiled at them, caused 
their transfer to the Zoo. 

He had found the captain " a very decent fellow," and he 
had kept him suppUed with newspapers, while he begged 
his father to send down some of his finest roses to the 


ship on her arrival, so that the captain and his wife could 
see what real roses were. As he wrote that, he added, 
" My goodness ! don't I wish that I were a captain with 
£300 a year ! " 

He thoroughly enjoyed his little ghmpse of Hfe at home — ^it 
was only ten days — and never was happier. While he was 
seeing old friends at Sydenham, the Sixth International Geo- 
graphical Congress was meeting at the Imperial Institute. Mr. 
Borchgrevink read a paper on his landing at Cape Adare in 
the Antarctic, and under the presidency of Sir Clements Mark- 
ham all the geographers of the world resolved that the time 
had come for the renewal of Antarctic research on an extended 
scale. Even as they decided this momentous resolution, 
Shackleton was leaving the Thames for China and Japan on 
his second voyage in the Monmouthshire. 

At Nagasaki he bought some books, among them two which 
show him still pursuing his literary education, one a Rhyming 
Dictionary to aid his efforts at verse, the other Lempri^re's 
Classical Dictionary, from which to patch hi;S neglected know- 
ledge of the past. New Year's Day 1896 found him approach- 
ing the Red Sea, bound by Suez and Gibraltar for New York, 
and on 19th April he was back again in the Thames, where he 
said farewell to the ship. 

The two months which he now had ashore saw him through 
his Board of Trade examination for First Mate, and he was 
appointed to the Flintshire, a steamer of 2500 tons register, 
with promotion to the rank of second mate, which showed 
satisfactory progress in his profession. 

His next voyage occupied seven months, and led him round 
the world by the now familiar Suez route to China and Japan, 
and across the Pacific to San Francisco, where he spent a month 
in October-November, thence home by the South American 
coast, remembered from the sailing-ship days, with a call at 
Coronel for coal. Putting in at St. Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, 
for coal on 12th January 1897, Shackleton ran against the old 
school friend Rhodes with whom he had fought in honour of 
St. Patrick at Fir Lodge, and the meeting made the arid island 
bloom with happy memories. 


He was at home for his birthday for the first time in eight 
years. Then he was off again to Saigon in Cochin-China with 
a pleasant lot of passengers ; but the work was growing harder, 
and his prospects, if he stayed with the company, less bright ; 
in fact, he felt the restlessness that was always with him the 
precursor of a change. All the way home he pondered on what 
the next thing was to be. He thought that he would change 
his ship for a better ; but when he reached Sydenham in the 
height of the rose-season of 1897 he made a discovery which 
drove the thought of ships from his mind. In the drawing- 
room of Aberdeen House he was introduced to his sister's friend. 
Miss Emily Dorman, and, if they did not fall in love at first 
sight when their eyes met, they became instantaneously such 
true friends that the world was changed. 

In the few weeks ashore the new friendship left no time in 
which to seek a new ship. He had to sail in the Flintshire on 
17th July for seven long months ; east to Japan, across the 
Pacific to Portland, Oregon, and home by Coronel and St. Vincent , 
with an aggravating detour to Marseilles. But on this voyage 
there was now a nucleus round which his poetic fancies grouped 
themselves in the night watches under the stars. 

He was back in England in February 1898, and though he 
read of the departure of a Belgian Antarctic expedition, it meant 
little to him that the Belgica was crossing the Antarctic Circle 
as he was entering the Thames. He was bound for brighter 
and warmer regions that are not confined within the net of 
latitude and longitude. There was only a fortnight, but the 
fortnight was a dream of the new world. Miss Dorman opened 
up to him the poetry of Robert Browning — ^he used to say 
formerly that he did not like Browning, but now the Hght 
had come. They visited the British Museum and National 
Gallery together, and the world of art was opening before him 
when the call of duty in the harsh tones of the Flintshire's 
siren brought him back to the sea, the old routine, and 
the commonplace passengers to whom he had to pay civil 

Stirred by a new incentive, he was working for his examina- 
tion for a Master's certificate, and this he passed at a Naval 


Court at Singapore on 28th April, rejoicing that he was now, 
at twenty-four years of age, legally qualified to take command 
of any ship in the merchant service. 

With midsummer he came back to the roses for a month, 
not so often at Sydenham now as at Mr. Dorman's country home 
at Tidebrook, Sussex, where the days sped happily, though still 
the poets and the painters were the intermediaries between a 
lover and a friend. When the long evenings summed up the 
glories of the EngUsh summer days for Shackleton, away on 
the other side of the world the Belgica was drifting fast in the 
floe, through the blackness and misery of the first Antarctic 
night that mankind had ever faced ; but to him there was as 
yet no Antarctic. 

At the end of July the Flintshire sailed with a second officer 
who had left his heart behind him, but was still doubtful of the 
future. Let it not be supposed that he moped about the deck 
in a hazy dream — ^that was not Shackleton. He was alert, 
watchful, cheery, a friend to all on board and chief organizer 
of every form of entertainment possible at sea. His anxious 
heart found rest, and torture, in the poets. He had Swinburne 
with him and revelled in the voluptuous roll of the verses, and 
he had now Browning also, the Selections, as well as a Browning 
Birthday Book, copies of which he and Miss Emily Dorman 
had exchanged and read in daily. This is how he tried to 
express his feelings : 

" The future so uncertain that I dare hardly shape a hope. 
I do not want Paracelsus 's happiness. I would attain, but the 
goal is that to which Aprile yearned. What can I call success ? 
a few years' praise from those around and then — down to the 
grave with the knowledge that the best thing has been missed 
unless the world's success brings that to pass, and for me it 
seems a long way off " . . . 

How he put it to his companions on board appears from 
a tribute paid to his memory in the United Methodist of 4th 
May 1922 by Mr. James Dunsmore, who had been with him in 
the Flintshire as third engineer. It was usual for deck officers 
to ignore the engineers on board ship, or at least to deal with 


them formally ; but Shackleton chose his friends regardless of 
convention. Mr. Dunsmore writes of this voyage : 

"'Well, Shacky,' I remarked one evening, 'and what do 
you think of this old tub ? You'll be skipper of her one day.' 
' You see, old man,' he said, ' as long as I remain with this 
company 111 never be more than a skipper. But I think I 
can do something better. In fact, really, I would like to make 
a name for myself ' — ^he paused for a moment or two — ' and for 
her.' ... In my bunk that night I felt convinced that the 
ambition of that man's life was to do something worthy — ^not 
only for himself, but * for her.' " 

Shackleton had not been at home for Christmas for eight 
years, and he wrote to his father from Port Said that this time 
he would not be absent from the family party. But Christmas 
Day found him in the North Sea, making for Middlesbrough, 
in a typical winter gale. Next day the FUnishire ran ashore 
off Redcar, and Shackleton's stern and resolute performance of 
his duty on that occasion was the admiration of his companions 
on board. Personally he hailed the mishap with pleasure, for 
it gave him an excuse for asking a couple of day's leave to do 
honour to his father's birthday on ist January. 

New Year's Day 1899, however, acquired a new significance 
amongst his anniversaries, and though the course of true love 
was not to run without some obstruction from doubts and 
anxieties, the day decided him that it was imperative to seek 
employment which offered better prospects of ultimate indepen- 
dence. He wrote at once resigning his position in the Welsh Shire 
Line to the surprise and disappointment of the managers. He 
parted with regret from Captain W. A. Evans, under whom he 
had been for three years, and to whom he owed much help and 
advice for which he recorded his gratitude many years later. 

On an introduction from the same school friend who had 
assisted him before, he secured an appointment with the Union 
Castle Line, and immediately began work on one of the ships in 
the East India Dock. He arrived on board one January day 
without an overcoat and carrying one or two books under his 
arm, and began at once to talk of Browning to his fellow-officers, 


creating the impression, as one of them says, " that he was 
distinctive, and a departure from the usual type of young officer. 
Later on I found he was several types bound in one volume." 

While he was busy in the docks making friends with new 
comrades and learning the ways of the smart mail-ships, which 
refmed upon those of the tramps he had been accustomed to, 
he heard echoes from the Antarctic which still awoke no answer- 
ing chord in his mind. The Belgica after her long imprisonment 
in the floe had got free and reached South America, and the 
Southern Cross had deposited Borchgrevink and his party on 
Cape Adare to make the j&rst wintering that men had faced on 
Antarctic land. 

At the end of March Shackleton sailed for Cape Town on the 
TantaUon Castle, of 3000 tons register, as fourth officer ; but, 
although nominally two steps down from his position on the 
Flintshire, the change was a real advance. He responded to the 
smartness and dignity of a Hner under the blue ensign with 
crowds of passengers often distinguished and always interesting, 
and for companions young men ambitious of the highest prizes 
in their profession. He started with the reputation of being a 
" poetical sort of chap," and this stuck to him throughout his 
two years in the Line, for it was true, though only a splinter 
of the truth. On one of the several ships on which he served 
and on one of the several voyages he made in each, he came 
under the notice of a rather pompous captain, who, desiring 
to score off the poet, addressed him one day when on watch. 
" Is the glorious orb of day visible, Mr. Shackleton ? " In- 
stantaneously came the reply, " No, sir ; the effulgence of King 
Sol is temporarily obscured by the nebulous condition of the 
intervening atmosphere." " Humph," grunted the discon- 
certed skipper. " Got him with his own tackle," observed 
Shackleton to his dehghted colleagues on the bridge. 

He made three voyages to the Cape and back on the Tan- 
tallon Castle during the year, with a month at home between 
each, a bUssful arrangement when compared with the long, 
uncomfortable voyages of the past. The frequent opportunities 
for smoothing the run of his deep, personal ambition produced 
the result which he had determined on from the first, and the 


evening talks on the poets and the stars loosed "the sweet 
influences of Pleiades," and gave to Sinus and Aldebaran a 
significance which has escaped the compilers of the Nautical 
Almanac. To the day of his death the stars were always the 
highest images to him and the tenderest. But there was a long 
way to go before his position could justify the realization of his 
hopes : as in most of the crises of his hfe discretion had the 
upper hand, and now hard work to win a place and name was 
recognized as the only way home to the uncharted kingdom. 

On one of his stays ashore he became a Fellow of the Royal 
Geographical Society : on one of his trips abroad he met Mr. 
Gerald Lysaght, who recognized him at once as one who aspired 
to great things, and showed unusual character, power and deter- 
mination, and they became lifelong friends. 

The South African War had broken out, and Shackleton 
was transferred to the Tintagel Castle, 3500 tons register, with 
the rank of third officer, and the duty of carrying troops from 
Southampton to the Cape. The two voyages he made in the 
trooper kept him busy from 14th December 1899 to 31st May 
1900, every hour being filled with congenial tasks by way of 
duty and recreation. He organized signalling classes for the 
military officers, and spent hours each day instructing them 
in semaphoring. He was always flashing out new ideas for 
the amusement of the men, whose crowded quarters and con- 
stant drill tended to breed discontent. He got up concerts 
and sports, and, as a climax, he stage-managed an impressive 
visit from Father Neptune with all the traditional features of 
his own first crossing of the Line, glorified by the more ample 
resources of the liner. A brother ofiicer declares that on this 
voyage Shackleton was the life and soul of the ship, always 
popular with the right class of man, while with the wrong class 
he had nothing whatever to do. From another source we 
learn that what he saw of gambling on this voyage decided 
him to stop playing cards for money, even the smallest stakes. 
But his chief delight was in the preparation of his first book 
in collaboration with Dr. W. M'Lean, the ship's surgeon. It 
bore the title " O.H.M.S. : A Record of the Voyage of the Tin- 
tagel Castle, conveying 1200 volunteers from Southampton 


to Cape Town, March 1900," and it was profusely illustrated 
by photographs, showing all phases of life on board a troop- 
ship. Before he returned to London he had secured more 
than 2000 subscriptions of 2s. 6d. for the book, so that its 
financial success was assured in advance. An interesting 
episode is thus related in one of his home letters : 

" I knew Kiphng was out here, so I wrote a letter asking 
him to contribute a poem dealing with the voyage, and we 
could then put it in front of the book. Well, next morning 
I was looking at the ship on the other side of the wharf when 
I saw a man in a shabby-looking grey suit with gold-rimmed 
specs., and the face was the face of Ruddy. I called the doctor, 
my fellow-author, and told him to go on board and try and 
speak to him, for he knew the doctor of the ship. He did so, 
and the next minute was talking to Kipling, so I went across 
and he came up and said, " Good morning, I got your letter, 
Mr. Shackleton," in the most genial way, and then said that 
he had no time at present ; but when he got home (he has gone 
on the Tantallon), and we sent him the proof, so that he could 
grasp the idea fully if it pleased him, he said, ' I will do my 
level best for you.'" 

At the Cape Shackleton heard that Borchgrevink had visited 
the Great Ice Barrier, found its position was 30 miles south of 
that recorded by Ross, and that he had landed upon it, and 
travelled over its surface to latitude 78° 50' S., the nearest 
point to the South Pole yet attained. He knew, too, that a 
National Antarctic Expedition was being planned by a joint 
committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical 
Society, and he had made up his mind that such an adventure 
was the thing for him. It presented a shorter cut to fame, and 
ultimately to wealth, than following the sea, and he began to 
inquire about a possible post on the expedition. 

With all these preoccupations Shackleton was always on 
the alert for any new interest, and on the way home he wrote 
a letter to the Daily Mail, which he ought to have sent to Nature, 
on a swarm of bees which came on board as stowaways at Cape 
Town on 8th May. " We constructed a nondescript hive, and 
there content they remained for the next seven days. On the 


20th we drew near to Cape Verde, passing about nine miles off, 
and going that morning to see our Httle colony, found it flown. 
Surely instinct must account for the bees' quiescent state during 
the days when land was far off and their sudden departure as 
we drew near the coast." And he went on to wonder how the 
bees fared in their new surroundings, and how Darwin would 
have liked to know of such a voluntary transfer of species from 
one habitat to another. 

On returning to England at the end of May 1900, Shackleton 
had five months' leave, part of which he employed with Dr. 
M'Lean in seeing O.H.M.S. through the press and in distributing 
the volume to subscribers, for they were their own publishers 
and booksellers. The book was out of hand by August, and 
a copy specially bound was presented to Queen Victoria and 
graciously accepted, to the no small gratification of one, at 
least, of the authors. 

Shackleton was making inquiries about joining the Royal 
Naval Reserve at this time, and the arrangement was nearly 
concluded when some hitch seems to have occurred which post- 
poned it for nearly a year. This disappointment was more 
than counterbalanced by a visit to the Dormans at Eastbourne, 
where they had a house for the summer. 

In October he joined the Gaika as third officer, and made 
another trip to the Cape and back. Before he went and after 
he returned he kept hammering away at all the doors that 
seemed to lead to the National Antarctic Expedition, the ship 
of which was growing rapidly on the stocks at Dundee, and a 
skeleton staff, under Lieutenant Robert F. Scott, R.N., the 
selected commander, was already at work making preparations 
and keeping up relations with the German expedition, which 
was to start at the same time and make simultaneous observa- 
tions in another part of the Antarctic. 

The first day of the new century found Shackleton at home ; 
but on 5th January 190 1 he left Southampton as third officer 
of the Carisbrooke Castle, 7600 tons, the largest ship on which 
he ever served, and in her he made his last voyage in the 
mercantile marine, a short two months to the Cape and back. 
On his return he reaped the reward of his continual asking by 


being appointed as junior officer on the Discovery for the National 
Antarctic Expedition, and he got leave from the Union Castle 
Company for this service. 

This appointment he looked on as the first rung of the ladder 
of success. He had been a good average junior officer and 
would have made a very popular captain of a passenger liner, 
but it is doubtful whether he would have been equally happy 
in the intermediate sphere of a first officer responsible for 
detailed routine. The following appreciation from Captain 
John Austen Hussey shows how he struck his contemporaries 
while on the Union Castle boats : 

" Shackleton was contented with his own company ; at the 
same time he never stood aloof in any way, but was eager to 
talk — to argue as sailors do, and he was fond of joining in the 
usual ship banter. He had a quiet drawl in his ordinary speech ; 
but however slow his words, his eyes were bright and his glances 
quick, his leisurely deUvery was behed by the vivacity of his 
facial expression. When he was on a subject that absorbed 
his interest or appealed to his imagination his voice changed to 
a deep, vibrant tone, his features worked, his eyes shone, and 
his whole body seemed to have received an increase of vitality. 
When moved to still more intense emotion, or when forced out 
of his self-quietude, Shackleton showed that determined self- 
reliant, fearless and dominant personality which later was to 
make him a leader men would obey and follow unhesitatingly. 
He was not then the same man who perhaps ten minutes earlier 
was spouting lines from Keats or Browning — ^this was another 
Shackleton with his broad shoulders hunched — ^his square jaw 
set, his eyes cold and piercing ; at such a time he might have 
been likened to a bull at bay. 

" But, withal, he was very human, very sensitive. He 
quickly responded to his sympathetic nature, and was slow to 
pass judgment on his fellows. He was just as quickly bored 
by commonplaces and by futile chatter. He could be calmly 
satirical without mahce, and appreciated a subtle allusion and 
neatly phrased criticism." 

Plioto.'l [C. Vandyk. 

Sub-Lieutenant E. H. Shackleton, R.N.R., aged 27. 

Face />. 56^ 

THE DISCOVERY, 1901-1903 

*■' We left behind the painted buoy- 
That tosses at the harbour-mouth ; 
And madly danced our hearts with joy 
As fast we fleeted to the South. 

. • • • 

For one fair Vision ever fled 

Down the waste waters day and night, 
And still we follow' d where she led, 
In hope to gain upon her flight." 


TO Shackleton the National Antarctic Expedition was 
an opportunity and nothing more. He would have 
tried to join just as eagerly a ship bound to seek 
buried treasure on the Spanish Main, or to scour the Atlantic 
in search of the Island of St. Brandan. He had no natural 
affinity for the polar regions, no genius for scientific research ; 
but an overmastering passion possessed him and raised his 
whole being on a wave of ambition which carried him to, and 
far beyond, the single goal he had in view. Before the expedi- 
tion sailed he knew that his object was accomplished ; the 
understanding between him and Miss Emily Dorman was com- 
plete, and her father's approval was secured. But his nature 
was such that he had to convince himself that he was worthy 
of the bliss beyond the voyage by excelling in every branch 
of the work before him, and la3dng the foundations on which 
in due time he would build an everlasting name for himself — 
*' and for her." The depth and intensity of his feehngs were 
hidden from the world, except the few kindred souls who could 
interpret the vibrant tones of his rich, low voice in quoting 
from his favourite authors ; no others guessed the motive 



power of the terrific activity and high spirits which marked 
him as busiest and happiest amongst the busy and happy 
crowd on board the Discovery. 

The National Antarctic Expedition, organized nominally 
by a joint committee of two learned societies, was really the 
creation of Sir Clements Markham, K.C.B., F.R.S., president 
of the Royal Geographical Society. He raised, thanks mainly 
to the munificence of Mr. Llewellyn Longstaff, half the cost 
of the original expedition, while the Government provided the 
other half. He selected from the Royal Navy Lieutenant 
Robert F. Scott (who was promoted to Commander before he 
sailed as leader), and Lieutenant Charles W. R. Royds, R.N., 
while Captain Scott selected Engineer-Lieutenant R. W. Skelton, 
R.N., as engineer, and Lieutenant Michael Bame, R.N., as 
second lieutenant. The chosen crew were mainly man-of-war's 
men picked from an enormous crowd of volunteers, and it 
cannot be denied that both Sir Clements Markham and Captain 
Scott would have liked to see the expedition purely naval in 
composition and discipHne. But Sir Clements knew the polar 
regions, and he knew that experience of the ice and of the 
handling of a saihng ship was necessary for the safety of the 
ship, so he appointed Lieutenant Albert B. Armitage, R.N.R., 
an officer of the P. & 0. Line, who had recently returned from 
four years' leave of absence on exploration in Franz Josef Land, 
as second in command of the expedition and navigator of the 
ship ; finally, he added as junior officer of the ship, mainly 
because of his knowledge of sails, Ernest Henry Shackleton, 
who received a commission as Sub-Lieutenant R.N.R. additional 
to H.M.S. President for service in the Discovery on ist July 1901. 
The Discovery also had a scientific staff of five — Dr. Reginald 
Koettlitz, who had been on the Franz Josef Land Expedition 
with Armitage ; Dr. Edward A. Wilson, a brilliant artist as 
well as a biologist (both of these were medical men) ; Mr. T. V. 
Hodgson, marine biologist ; Mr. H. T. Ferrar, of Sidney-Sussex 
College, Cambridge, geologist ; and Mr. Louis Bemacchi, 
physicist, who alone of those on board had already had experi- 
ence of Antarctic conditions, as he had been a member of 
Borchgrevink's expedition in the Southern Cross. Bemacchi 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 59 

did not join the Discovery until she reached New Zealand ; but 
Mr. George Murray, F.R.S., accompanied the ship as far as 
Cape Town as provisional head of the scientific staff, and Dr. 
H. R. Mill went as far as Madeira as instructor in oceanography 
and meteorology. 

The Discovery was legally a merchant vessel fi)^ng the blue 
ensign by special Admiralty warrant, and the burgee of the 
Royal Harwich Yacht Club in place of a house flag. Officers, 
scientific staff, and crew signed on under Captain Scott as 
master ; but all voluntarily accepted Royal Naval conditions, 
and copied the naval routine and nomenclature, the saloon 
being termed a ward-room, and the men's quarters the lower 
deck. This touch of the theatre amused the scientific staff 
and pleased Shackleton, who had always a keen dehght in 
make-believe ; but it was taken quite seriously by the naval 
men, and undoubtedly served to maintain the high standard 
of discipline which prevailed throughout. Captain Scott, 
following the usual custom of the Navy in small vessels, 
refrained from exercising his right of living apart from his 
officers, and became one of the ward-room mess, taking the 
position of president at the table in turn with the others week 
about, and imposing no restriction on the freedom of con- 
versation. He was singularly sjmipathetic and understanding, 
always keen to add to his knowledge, and concerned to give 
to every specialist the fullest possible opportunities for pur- 
suing his studies. On deck he was a firm commander with 
a stern regard for detail, and strict in the enforcement of 

The Discovery was launched at Dundee on 2ist March igoi* 
and was brought round to the East India Dock in May, where 
she was fitted out, and stowed with the carefully-prepared 
supphes of food, clothing and equipment which Captain Scott 
had been engaged in preparing for a year, all the officers, as 
they were appointed, taking a part in the work. 

The ship had been planned for scientific work, especially 
in magnetism, and the expedition was designed to co-operate 
with the German Antarctic Expedition under Professor Erich 
von Drygalski in the Gauss, which was to explore the region 


south of Kerguelen Land, while the Discovery undertook to 
investigate the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand. Later, two 
other expeditions took up simultaneous explorations in the 
Weddell Sea : Dr. Otto Nordenskjold in the Antarctic, on 
the east coast of Graham Land, also sailing in 1901 ; and 
Dr. W. S. Bruce in the Scotia, which set out in 1902. The 
work of the Discovery was thus part of an ambitious plan 
for the systematic renewal of Antarctic research. Special 
attention was to be given to exploration on land, and, as the 
equipment included a balloon, two officers were specially in- 
structed in aeronautics by the Army Balloon Department. 
Shackleton was one of these, and entered keenly into the spirit 
of the sport. During the summer he also carried out experi- 
ments with detonators for firing charges, to be used if occasion 
arose in blasting a channel through the ice, and on his week- 
end visits to Tidebrook the villagers were more than once 
aroused in the night by mysterious explosions. 

Early in August the Discovery steamed round to Cowes, 
and when ready for sea she was inspected by King Edward 
and Queen Alexandra, who showed an interest in every detail 
of the ship and her equipment, so spontaneous and sincere 
that all formality was forgotten, and when the King gave an 
extempore speech of farewell, every man on board was heart- 
ened for his future labours by the generous words of encourage- 
ment and hope. The Queen noticed the fine carnations which 
Dr. Shackleton had sent to decorate his son's cabin, and, with 
a hearty handshake to all the ward -room party, the Royal 
visitors departed. Only then was it discovered that no one 
had remembered to offer His Majesty the refreshment that had 
been laid in for him, after discreet inquiries of the appropriate 
functionaries as to the brand he most affected ! 

Preparations for sea were rapidly completed, and on 6th 
August the ugly black hull of the Discovery, with her short 
masts and long yards, was steered through the crowd of pleasure 
yachts ; and, after dropping the lady relatives and friends, 
who had come to say farewell to sons, brothers and fiances, at 
the little town of Yarmouth, the ship in the grip, for the 
moment, of silent emotion started on her mission. 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 61 

Life on board was busy and happy. There was much to 
learn as to the working of the ship, for steam was more famiMar 
than sails to all the senior officers, and the Discovery was in- 
tended to economize coal by trusting largely to the wind. New 
friendships were soon formed and new duties learned. Several 
of the officers were initiated into scientific observations, and 
Shackleton undertook to determine the density and salinity 
of samples of sea-water throughout the voyage. He found 
the minute accuracy required rather irksome, and was long 
in grasping the importance of writing down one reading of an 
instrument before making the next. But his inexhaustible 
good humour made correction easy, and his determination to 
excel served him here as in other tasks. 

The ship was well stocked with books, from the scientific 
quartos of the Challenger Reports to the dainty duodecimos 
of the Temple Classics, which occupied narrow shelves fixed to 
the roof-beams of the ward-room. Only there was little time 
for reading. Shackleton was soon charged with the super- 
vision of the stores, and there was frequent occasion to over- 
haul the contents of the holds, as some of the tinned foods 
suffered in the tropics. 

From Madeira in the middle of August to Cape Town and 
Simon's Bay in early October the trip was uneventful, save for 
an exciting landing on the desolate island of South Trinidad, 
where Shackleton was on shore for eight hours on 13th Sep- 
tember. On the long stretch across the Southern Ocean the 
temptation of just a look at the ice-floes proved too strong even 
for Captain Scott's resolve to waste no time on the passage. 
The Discovery was diverted southward, and on i6th November, 
south of Australia, she had her baptism of ice on the edge of the 
floe in 62° 50' S. Then like a schoolboy, fearful of being caught 
on a pond before skating is sanctioned, she turned and hastened 
on to New Zealand, reaching Lyttelton on the last day of 
November. Three strenuous weeks followed. The ship had 
been leaking in a way alarming to those unfamiHar with the 
peculiarities of wooden hulls, and she had to be docked for 
examination and overhauling. Also, it was necessary to empty 
and re-stow the holds, and the burden of this fell on Shackleton, 


whose long experience in the Shire and Castle lines stood him 
in good stead ; and he gloried in reaping this reward for his old 
drudgery. Stowing a ship with food and equipment for ex- 
ploring lands where his " will fall the first of human feet " was 
living poetry for him. The day's work over, the abounding 
hospitahty of the most English of all the Dominions competed 
with the long letters to Wetherby Gardens, where the Dormans 
now resided, and the shorter but ever-dutiful notes to Sydenham 
for the hours that should have been claimed by sleep. 

The Discovery had a fine send-off from Lyttleton on 2ist 
December marred by a fatal accident to a sailor, who fell from 
the masthead while sky-larking aloft. The ship put in at Port 
Chalmers to land the body, and, after adding 45 tons of coal 
in bags to an already heavy deck-load, she sailed on 24th 
December 1901, severing the last link with the outer world, 
as there was no wireless telegraphy when the century was new. 

We do not attempt here to tell the story of the National 
Antarctic Expedition ; that has been done in monumental 
form by Captain Scott, and from another point of view by 
Captain Armitage, in pubhshed works. It is enough to follow 
Shackleton through his experiences upon it, depending mainly 
on his unpublished diary, which he kept in rough notes and 
wrote up at intervals on the typewriter. In doing so, like Scott 
and Armitage, he follows the fine tradition of British explorers, 
and excludes all personal criticism, passing over the little 
squabbles and jealousies that bubble up between the best com- 
panions when thrown into the closest contact without any 
change of society for many months. Such quarrels were 
fewer on this expedition than on most, and none was serious ; 
in fact, Shackleton says, that when one threatened to break 
out in the ward-room, the quiet admonition, " Girls, girls 1 " 
drowned it in laughter — ^he had not forgotten the lesson of the 
doll at Fir Lodge. 

The voyage to the ice was pleasant, and the weather finer 
than is usually experienced in that vexed belt of ocean. Hence 
the diary deals less with the outside than with the inner world. 
A like-minded officer of H.M.S. Ringaroona at New Zealand 
had presented Shackleton with three volumes of Swinburne. 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1908 68 

He was reading another favourite, Stephen Phillips' Paolo and 
Francesca, to Skelton, who professed to despise poetry, but 
liked this — ^as Shackleton read it. And once " Bernacchi and 
I were discussing poetry to-night and the philosophy of old 
Omar ; he seemed to think it very good, and my opinion is 
that the lines are beautiful, the translation wonderful, but the 
philosophy maudlin and unmanly. A finer man in every way 
is my old favourite Browning, though it is — or was — ^fashionable 
to pretend not to be able to understand him ; why, I do not 

He was reading all sorts of literature, from Madame de 
Stael to Owen Seaman, but revolted at the sameness of the 
stories in the popular monthly magazines. Presumably he was 
referring to what he excluded from his record when he ejaculates 
one day, " It is a difficult thing to write a diary and keep the 
rubbish out," for he overcame that difficulty with conspicuous 

The first week of the New Year, 1902, saw the Discovery 
safely through the belt of pack-ice which frequently keeps a 
vessel from reaching the open water of Ross Sea for a month 
or more. Shackleton had his first lesson in ski-running from 
KoettHtz on a snow-covered ice-floe, but it was not a very 
happy one. " I think," he said, " my share of falls was greater 
than the others." 

On 9th January they anchored at Cape Adare, and Shackleton 
J had a fine time on shore, helping the naturalists to collect rocks 
and lichens, watching the entertaining ways of the penguins 
and photographing all he saw, for "I have an idea to make 
up for my lack of facility in explanation " by so doing. The 
day was not long enough for all he had to see, though the sun 
was now shining continuously, and as the ship steamed south- 
ward the grand panorama of the mountains of Victoria Land 
opened before them. The great white cones of Mount Sabine 
and Mount Melbourne shone so gloriously on the horizon that 
many plates and films were wasted on them before it was 
realized that they subtended so small an angle as to show only 
3- jagged line in the print. Wilson was constantly sketching 
all that was too far or too fugitive for the camera. 


On board Shackleton had now complete charge of the 
catering, and he was much reUeved when Captain Scott gave 
orders to slaughter seals for food, as his effort to give variety 
to the meals was often harassing. 

On 19th January the smoking summit of Mount Erebus 
came into view ahead, and next day a landing was made on 
the granite rocks of a promising harbour, since called Granite 
Harbour, though packed ice kept the ship far away from it. 
Shackleton was just coming off watch as the party left the 
ship, and hungry though he was, he joined it, missing his dinner. 
But he had his reward. He says : 

" From the top of the ridge at whose foot we were clamber- 
ing along a great deal of fresh water was nmning down into 
the sea, and it was here that we made our first important 
discovery. I was with Koettlitz, and seeing some green stuff 
at the foot of a boulder I called him to have a look at it. He 
went down on his knees and then jumped up, crying out, 
7^ Moss ! ! Moss ! ! I have found moss ! 1 ! ' I said, * Go on I 
I found it.' He took it quite seriously, and said, ' Never mind, 
it's moss; I am so glad.' The poor fellow was so overjoyed 
that there were almost tears in his eyes. This was his Golconda 
— this little green space in the icy South." 

In no earlier expedition had anything approaching a bank 
of moss been found, only a few straggling shoots barely recog- 
nizable as of the family of mosses. 

Two days later Cape Crozier was sighted, and the long, 
grey line of the Great Ice Barrier stretching to the eastward. 
Shackleton was busy helping Armitage with the magnetic 
observations when not on watch, so could not land. Then for 
a week of beautiful weather the Discovery steamed slowly 
eastward, along the face of the great ice-cliffs which Ross had 
compared to the chffs of Dover. But the majesty of the scene 
was by no means equal to the vision conjured up by Ross's 
description. For days at a time the height of the ice-cliffs 
ranged between 25 and 90 feet, though sometimes it rose 
gradually to 240 feet, while the water at their base varied 
between 300 and 500 fathoms deep, showing that the vast sheet 
of ice was afloat. As the ship kept close in, often within a 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1908 66 

quarter of a mile, the structure of the ice could be examined, 
and it appeared to be made up of layer on layer of compacted 
snow. The worn sea-face was in some parts fretted into caves, 
in others the ice showed sharp, vertical fractures from which 
icebergs had cracked away. When the ship was in longitude 
170° W. the following entry was made : 

" When I went on watch and had been some time in the 
crow's-nest (the barrel at the masthead) during the eight to 
twelve watch in the evening, the ice seemed to be a huge berg, 
some five miles long, and I sent a message down to the captain. 
He came up and had a look, and then we went down on to 
the bridge. After a bit I went up again, and saw that it was 
evidently an inlet into the Barrier, and that it was no iceberg 
at all. The captain decided to stand to, and at midnight 
we sounded and got three hundred and four fathoms, with a 
bottom of blue mud." 

Next day they found themselves at the head of a bay in 
the icy wall, being then about 240 miles east of Cape Crozier. 
They turned and rounded the peninsula of ice which enclosed 
the bay, and pushing eastward for nearly 200 miles to 150° W., 
always kept the Barrier edge in view, except when fog or snow 
squalls hid it for a time. On 30th January they found the 
mountains of an unknown land confronting them, and the 
water beneath them shoaled to 92 fathoms. Here was the 
end of the Barrier and an impenetrable pack to bar eastward 
progress, so Captain Scott named his first discovery King 
Edward vii. Land, and turned the Discovery's bow westward 
again. The diary says : 

** The near bare peak that we measured was 1450 feet high, 
and the slopes which stretched away east and west were over 
1000; so that is a very definite discovery, and it does seem 
curious. It is a unique sort of feeling to look on lands that 
have never been seen by human eye before." 

A bay or inlet in the Barrier near the place where Borch- 

grevink landed in 164® W. was selected for a landing, and the 

Discovery was brought alongside the Barrier edge as if it were a 

quay at a place where its surface was 15 feet above the water — 

' 5 


a novel sort of quay, for when moored to it the ship had 1800 feet 
of water below her keel. The place was named Balloon Bight, 
for here the balloon was landed and duly inflated by the officers 
and men trained for the purpose ; and Captain Scott, exercising 
his right as leader, had the courage to make an ascent, though 
he had no previous experience. The wire rope which held 
the balloon captive was so heavy that it stopped the ascent 
at 600 feet, and he was hauled down safely. A second ascent 
was made by Shackleton, who had been fully instructed in 
England. He took a camera with him and procured several 
excellent pictures of the undulated surface of the Barrier ; 
but he could spy nothing to the south but unbroken ice. The 
wind got up and no more ascents could be made, so the gas 
was let out and the costly experiment was over. 

By 6th February the Discovery was back under the shadow 
of Mount Erebus, where Captain Scott had been advised that 
a passage to the south would probably be foimd. He soon 
saw that what Ross had charted as M'Murdo Bay was really 
a channel, and that Moirnts Erebus and Terror rose from an 
island, now named after Ross. The Discovery made her way 
along M'Murdo Sound and found winter quarters at the south- 
west comer of Ross Island, beyond which the Sound was filled 
with fast ice. A busy time followed making the ship fast for 
the winter, landing the observation huts, digging out founda- 
tions, and building the great hut that was to accommodate all 
the party if disaster befel the ship. Work was varied with 
recreation, and Shackleton, to his surprise, foimd himself out 
of condition for playing football on the ice ; besides, the sailors 
played the Association game, and he had played Rugby at 
Dulwich. So, despite his many tmnbles, he gave most of his 
spare time to trying to keep erect on ski. At this he was worse 
than any other ; " must practise the more," was his comment. 
Part of the icy plain on which they exercised was covered 
thick with the dull ashes thrown out by Mount Erebus. " The 
whole place had a weird and uncanny look, and reminded me 
of the desert in * Childe Roland to the dark tower came.' " So 
said the lover of Browning. 

The 15th of February brought the birthday of Galileo and his 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 67 

aspiring follower, who commented sadly in the diary that he 
had not had a birthday at home for nearly twelve years ; but 
cheered up when he found that all such anniversaries were to 
be kept as special festivals on board, " a day to remember, for 
they drank my health at dinner ... a thing I had not had 
done before." 

A few days later he was sent out by the captain on his first 
sledge journey, to lead a party of three, his companions being 
Wilson and Ferrar, with the object of seeing whether a practicable 
route to the south existed between Black Island and White 
Island, which were visible to the south of winter quarters. 
The party set off on 19th February with a sledge bearing the 
flags of the three explorers, Sir Clements Markham having 
decreed that each officer should have a personal flag. Thus 
Shackleton had fluttering from the bow of the sledge the 
Shackleton arms and their appropriate motto, Fortitudine 
Vincimus. Everything was new, all were inexperienced ; but 
the methods were modelled on those which Nansen had invented 
and tested in the Arctic. The clothing was warm woollen with 
an outer suit of gaberdine made windproof , furs being dispensed 
with except for the mittens. A light tent was to afford shelter 
on camping, reindeer-skin sleeping-bags to secure warmth at 
night, and, most important innovation on the gear of the old 
sledgers of the Franklin Search, the Nansen cooker, with its 
aluminium cooking-pot and primus lamp secured the maximum 
of heating power with the least possible loss of heat and the 
minimum weight. As well as a sledge, the little party also 
dragged a light Norwegian skiff called a pram, in case of meeting 
open water. White Island looked as if it were ten miles off, 
and they expected to reach it in time to camp there ; but in 
the afternoon the brilliant weather gave place to a snow-blizzard 
from the south, and at 11.30 p.m. all three were completely 
played out and were obliged to camp on the sea-ice. In their 
inexperience they all got frost-bitten slightly, and their twelve 
hours* struggle made the rich pemmican uneatable, and they 
had a pretty miserable time. Next morning dressing was a 
problem, the frozen boots forming a special difficulty. They 
reached White Island (not ten, but twenty miles from the ship). 


in the forenoon, but could not find a place to get the sledge 
up, so they camped again on the sea-ice. They made their way 
to the island, roped together, and struggled to the summit, a 
height of 2730 feet. Cold tea had been taken for refreshment, 
but though carried in their inner clothing, the liquid had become 
sohd. To the south the sea-ice ran smoothly, to the west they 
looked on a new range of mountains, the continuation south- 
ward of those in Victoria Land, and Shackleton took angles 
to the prominent features, from which Wilson subsequently 
drew a map. It was 3 a.m. before they got back to the tent. 
Next morning they marched for three hours to the south and 
found themselves no longer on sea-ice but on rough glacier ice, 
part of the Barrier. They returned to the tent, and at 9 p.m. 

" The wind started from its old quarter, the south, and 
soon was blowing very hard. Ferrar went off to sleep, but 
Billy and I hung on to the poles of the tent, for we knew that 
if they were to go we would be in a bad way. While we were 
hanging on we were so tired that we both dropped off also, 
and when we awoke at i a.m. the wind had all gone." 

On the 22nd they made a great march, not direct to the ship, 
for big cracks had opened in the sea-ice, forcing them towards 
the rocks east of Cape Armitage, the most southerly point of 
Ross Island. They left the pram there, and the spot is called 
Pram Point to this day. Lightened of their loads, they soon 
crossed the ridge, and were welcomed on board the Discovery 
from their first ice journey, a little thing enough, but a beginning. 
Next morning at the Sunday service Shackleton asked for the 
singing of his favourite hymn, " Fight the good fight with all 
thy might," and for the time thought maybe of the struggle 
with the powers of the air in a sense more ph5^ical than 

Warnings of coming winter were now beginning. The 
stars were seen for the first time on 2nd March, as the sun set 
early enough to allow darkness to divide the days. Shackleton's 
work was now mainly the weighing out of sledging rations for 
the last autumn journeys, following the captain's orders to 
make them up in bags containing three men's rations for one 

THE DISCOVERY, 1901-1903 69 

day ; but considering this a bad arrangement, as tending to 
make people eat too much when not hungry : he thought weekly 
bags would be preferable. When this expedition was dis- 
patched to leave a message for next year's relief ship at Cape 
Crozier, Shackleton was the only executive officer left on board 
fit for duty, as the captain was laid up with a sprained knee. 
So for a time there was no exercise, and the first Sunday revealed 
another and altogether unexpected pitfall in the path of vicarious 
duty : 

" Had to read prayers this morning. I am not much of 
a hand at that sort of thing, and I read the Absolution. Billy 
told me I ought not to have done that, as I was not ordained. 
I opened at that page, so I suppose that was why I read it. 
I did not know anjdihing about the ordaining part of the show." 

On 23rd April the sun disappeared below the northern 
horizon at noon, not to be visible again for four months. The 
winter routine had long been established. All hands continued 
to live in the ship in their familiar and comfortable quarters, 
and the sea being solidly frozen and the ship banked up with 
snow, communication with the land was easy. The great hut 
was used for special entertainments, and kept in reserve in case 
of emergency should anything happen to the ship. The dark- 
ness did not produce depression or illness of any kind ; for the 
food supply was ample, and the ship had its electric lights in 
action, although the windmill on which Captain Scott placed 
much reliance for saving coal was frequently wrecked by the 
terrific squalls, and at last totally destroyed. Except during 
blizzards, when all movement was impossible, exercise on shore 
or on the ice was kept up, and the scientific staff pursued their 
special studies : the physicist in the magnetic hut, or at the tide 
gauge on the ice ; the biologist at his holes in the ice, through 
which he worked a dredge and lowered fish traps. The meteoro- 
logical work, kept up day and night, was taken in hand by 
turns by all the ward-room party, and the '* night out," which 
fell to each in rotation, was the heaviest and most dangerous 
task of all. In some cases, when an observer had lost hold of 
the guiding rope that was stretched from the ship to the 


meteorological screen a few hundred yards away, he had been 
known to grope for hours in the drifting snow before he found 
his way home. Wilson and Shackleton had established a 
special meteorological station of their own on the top of Crater 
Hill (960 feet), and to this they repaired almost every day ; 
the stiff and dangerous climb in the midwinter darkness and 
cold being a bracing experience with an edge of danger. Wilson 
and Shackleton were inseparable friends. " A walk with 
Billy " is the commonest phrase in the diary. He had the 
finest mind and the most attractive personality of the whole 
ship's company, and was a universal favourite, loved and 
trusted by all ; but with the captain and with Shackleton he 
interwove his life most intimately, finding in their diverse 
characters elements the most akin to his own. Shackleton was 
ready to lend a hand to every one. " Muggins," as Hodgson 
was called for some reason never revealed, foimd him an un- 
failing helpmate in digging his dredging-holes through the ice 
and hauling his frozen ropes. " My hands seem to stand the 
cold very well. I am able to handle ropes that have been 
in the water, pulling up fishing lines, without having to put on 
my gloves, for at least three or four minutes." 

On board every moment was occupied. The care of the 
stores and catering filled many hours every day. There were 
regular debates in the ward-room, at first weekly, aiterwards, 
as the novelty palled, less frequently. One evening, " owing 
to an argument between Bemacchi and myself as to the respec- 
tive merits of Browning and Tennyson, we had a competition. 
Bernacchi reading from Tennyson, and I from Browning, on 
the subjects of war, love, hatred, humour, and religion ; the 
rest of the ward-room being judges as to which was the best. 
Browning won by one vote." 

The great feature of the winter was the monthly publication 
of The South Polar Times, a magazine edited and typed by 
Shackleton, and illustrated by Wilson with exquisite draw- 
ings and water-colours. As the two volumes which appeared 
have been reproduced in facsimile, the outer world has had an 
opportunity of seeing the publication which fed the conversa- 
tion of the Discovery company for two winters. The editor 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 71 

and artist surrounded their proceedings with an attractive 
mystery. An office was installed in one of the holds far away 
from the highways of the ship, and there the two conspirators 
worked in silence and alone for hours each day. Contributions 
were solicited and received from the lower deck, as well as 
from the ward-room. A beautifully carved letter-box was 
set up, in which contributions could be secretly posted, and 
many of these were extraordinarily good. The captain ex- 
celled at acrostics, Armitage wrote of his north polar experiences, 
each officer and member of the scientific staff discussed his 
special study ; Shackleton contributed several poems, and 
Wilson's art was supported by clever drawings from other 
hands. Of the contributions from the men the most interesting 
were from the pen of one of the able seamen, Frank Wild, with 
whom Shackleton, ever impatient of the restraints of etiquette, 
formed a friendship which endured to the very last day of his 
life, and developed into years of brotherly co-operation, as the 
later chapters will declare. 

The South Polar Times was too serious as a literary pro- 
duction to permit of the inclusion of all the humorous 
and satirical contributions which found their way into its 
letter-box, so after a time a less intellectual sheet, The Blizzard, 
made its appearance, and performed its function of a safety 
valve with great popularity and success. It has not been 
divulged to the public, and we treat it with a like reticence 

So the winter passed, and much to his surprise Shackleton 
found that there was no time for the extensive scheme of study 
he had laid out for himself. He snatched odd hours for such 
books as Bates's Naturalist on the Amazons and Plutarch's 
Lives, but the chances were rare, and on 13th Jime an event 
happened which drove Bates and Plutarch back into the shades : 

" I was called into the captain's cabin this morning and over- 
joyed to hear that he had selected me with Wilson to go on the 
long South journey with him in the springtime. ... He tells 
me that I am not to talk about the southern journey yet, as it 
is private, and we have to be examined very carefiUly for our 


But, though silence was imposed and observed, the junior 
officer could think, and he exulted in the thought that he had 
been chosen for the crowning feat of the expedition. 

On 4th July the light was beginning to come back, and at 
noon there was a glow in the north, making walking on the ice 
quite easy. On the 7th the captain called Shackleton in to his 
cabin and gave him charge of the dogs in view of the great 
southern journey. No one on board had any special experience of 
dog-driving, and the captain had designed special harness for the 
teams. Now Shackleton was set the task, in no way alarming 
to a British sailor, of discovering by his own efforts in a week 
or two the art that takes a northern Canadian years of apprentice- 
ship to master. The result was better than one could have 
expected ; but it served to strengthen the fine old British 
tradition which Sir Clements Markham set such store by, that 
the best polar draught animals are the human members of the 
expedition. And in their hearts the Discovery people did not 
believe in dogs. 

Early in August the cold came to its worst, the minimum 
thermometer going down to 52 degrees below zero at the ship 
and 62 degrees below at Cape Armitage ; but through it all 
Shackleton was struggling with an idea that was taking visible 
shape. With Bame as a helper, and the technical assistance 
of the ship's carpenter, he was testing a new means of transport 
on the ice which he called his " rum cart." A blast of criticism 
met him from his comrades, not much more genial than the 
bUzzard. Captain Scott in his Voyage of the Discovery says : 
" Shackleton has invented a new sledge, or rather a vehicle to 
answer the same purpose, much to the amusement of his mess- 
mates, who scoff immercifully. The manufacture of this 
strange machine has been kept the profoundest secret. . . . 
It was to burst suddenly on our awestruck world, to carry 
immediate conviction as it trundled easily over the floe, to 
revolutionize all ideas of polar travelling, and once and for all 
to wipe the obsolete sledge from off the surface of the snow. . . . 
It was the queerest sort of arrangement, consisting of two 
rum-barrels placed one in front of the other and acting as wheels 
to a framework on which the load was intended to be placed." 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1908 78 

The skua gulls doubtless shared the captain's views, and the 
patriarchs of their community to-day may perhaps scream 
that they never saw its like for uncouthness and disappointment 
until motor sledges appeared upon the scene nine years later. 
On 22nd August the diary reads : 

" This is a red-letter day, for we saw the sun for the 
first time after an absence of 123 days. Wilson and I went 
up to the top of Harbour Hill and saw it from there, 
and we could see a number of other folk, who preferred 
the flat to the hillside, out on the floe on the same job as 
we were, looking out for the sun. The sight was grand, and 
I felt a real joy at the sight of it. One who has not lost it 
cannot understand how much it all means to see the good old 
sun. The clouds around were beautiful, and the smoke pall 
that hangs over Erebus was well lit up by the rays of light 
from the sun. We then went over to Crater Hill to see the 
temperature, and found the captain had struggled to the top 
and had a good view of all the wonders of nature which were 
spread out before us. He could not understand how it was 
that I could climb up those hills in my big boots, when he 
could hardly get on at all in crampons ; but there was no 
difficulty, for I am accustomed to climbing about in the dark, 
and so this is not hard." 

Soon the early spring sledging began, and the captain took 
Shackleton and Wilson out on many trips for practice, and in 
preparation for the great adventure. On one occasion they went 
on the sea-ice northward, along the ice cliffs which terminate 
the steep snow slopes of Ross Island, to the glacier tongue 
9 miles from Hut Point, and beyond towards Cape Royds. 
Another time at the end of September, the sledging trip was 
to the south, with stores to be left in a depot at Minna Bluff, 
a rocky point about 70 miles south of the ship. On this 
journey the Barrier was ascended close to Cape Armitage, 
and the party travelled over its surface, which was often rough 
and sometimes reft into deep crevasses, beyond White Island, 
the scene of Shackleton's first essay. Growing experience 
and fair weather enabled the party to cover the 131 nautical 
miles of the double journey in less than six days, the progress 
made being sometimes 18 miles, and on one splendid occasion. 


25 miles in one day. When they got back to the ship Shackleton 
was so stiff that he kept aboard for two days, much in contrast 
with his usual activity. 

He soon recovered and for a month the old routine con- 
tinued, working in the holds, walking with Wilson, helping 
Hodgson at the ice holes, copying out the last number 
of The South Polar Times for the season, till he hated 
the sight of his typewriter, reading Huxley's Lay Sermons, 
and Browning, " the first time for months." Then for a few 
days he worked at his nautical astronomy and practised the 
use of the theodolite for taking latitudes. The sailor's familiar 
instrument for getting the latitude by observing the meridian 
altitude of the sun or a star is the sextant ; but the use of 
it depends on either having a clear and sharp sea horizon, or 
a perfectly level surface of some shining liquid, usually called 
an artificial horizon. The liquid almost always used is mercury, 
and as mercury freezes at 40 degrees below zero it is of no use 
in polar cold. Captain Scott introduced the use of the theodolite, 
which is set level on a tripod stand by means of screws, and 
so can be used to measure angular altitudes without reference 
to the horizon, actual or artificial. It was a valuable innova- 
tion, well worth the time necessary to acquire familiarity with a 
new instrument and the extra weight which had to be carried. 

The start for the great southern journey on which so much 
of the success of the National Antarctic Expedition depended 
was fixed for 2nd November 1902. Captain Scott has described 
it in his book from the point of view of a leader anxious to 
do justice to the men he led, and to render an accoimt of 
his stewardship to the authorities at home. We have t6 deal 
with it merely as an incident in the training of an apprentice 
explorer without responsibility save for the portion of the daily 
duties which fell to him, and without a say as to the road to 
be traversed, or the manner in which the problems of travel 
were to be solved. 

Shackleton hoped to reach the Pole and get back again to 
a Discovery afloat, and with steam up ready to bring him back 
to share in the triumph of the expedition and receive the offer 
of a comfortable post at home in which to live happy ever 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1908 75 

after. Nevertheless he had a clear enough view of the possi- 
bility of failure, and even disaster, for the night before the 
start, " I turned in early after writing various letters home 
in case of anything happening." It very soon appeared that 
things were not to work out simply or smoothly. 

Captain Scott, Wilson, and Shackleton set out at lo a.m. 
on 2nd November with three sledges and all the dogs, nineteen 
in number, and that day they made 12 miles on the way towards 
White Island. A party, consisting of Barne with eleven men 
and three sledges, had gone on three days before, with the 
object of bringing provisions to a second depot south of that 
which had been laid out a month previously ; but they had 
met with difficulties and were overtaken on the second day 
out. Next day a blizzard came on, imprisoning the three men 
in their little tent. Two long days followed, during which they 
could hardly put their heads outside. It was a bad beginning, 
but their time was wiled away by reading Darwin's Origin 0] 
Species. By the 12th they had passed the farthest south 
reached in the spring journeys, and soon had the satisfaction 
of being " the first who ever burst " into the wastes of snow 
and ice beyond the Hmits of all earlier journeys. On the 15th 
the last detachment of the supporting party left to return to 
the ship, and the three were now alone. Mount Discovery 
stood up on the western horizon, a valuable landmark ; but 
far out on the surface of the Barrier the three men had a hard 
and increasing struggle. They continued to march their 
15 miles or more per day, but the ice was so rough that they 
could only pull half the loads at one time, so that after going 
5 miles they had to return for the other loads, thus making 
only 5 miles of advance in the day. They passed 79° S. on the 
17th, and continued to flounder along through deep, soft snow, 
the noontide sun sometimes too hot, the wind always too cold. 

As a specimen of the sort of life we may quote three con- 
secutive days : 

" 2^th November. — ^Five miles to the good, 15 miles 
done. To-day we passed the 80th parallel, so are inside 
the magic circle, stiQ going S.S.W. I have become a permanent 
t" hoosh " cook, Billy breakfast cook. We now have no hot 


lunches, eating our lunch on the way back from the sledges, one 
piece seal meat, eight lumps sugar, one biscuit. Don't feel up 
to writing to-night, have a touch of snow blindness, seeing 

" 26th November. — No journey to-day ; heavy drift the 
dogs being played out and needing a rest, we did not start. Had 
only two meals to-day to save food, so read some Darwin for 
lunch. Weather cleared up in the evening, and we got 

" 2yth November. — Started the dogs off with full load, only 
got I mile with it, then had to take half the sledges on and 
come back for the others. Snow was too much for the dogs. 
Captain stopped behind, Billy and I went back for other sledge ; 
a cool breeze reducing the temperature to zero pulled the dogs 
up, and we soon got the sledges up to the camp, where every- 
thing was ready for supper as soon as we had changed our foot- 
gear. Billy had made some sketches of the distant land in 
S.W., towards which we are making. We have now decided 
to steer S.W., as we are having such heavy work with the loads, 
and hope to reach the land sooner than steering S.S.W. Land 
must be about 60 miles off. We did only 4 miles to the good 
to-day, covering 12, but there is the satisfaction that every foot 
of ground is new." 

So it went on day after day, " it is drag, drag and drive, drive 
from the time we get up till it is time to turn in " ; " feeling 
rather tired, hoarse with shouting to the dogs." One day a 
4 oz. weight was found amongst the seal meat. " There is a 
sort of irony about this," when every ounce of burden is 
limited to strict necessity. 

They struggled on, the dogs began to die, the snow grew 
softer, the men were in a chronic state of hunger ; one day 
the advance was only 2 miles. On 14th December they made 
a depot of everything that could be left behind in latitude 
80° 30' S. ; and here they tried to approach the land, now close 
at hand, barred by a vast chasm which they could not cross 
even with the lightest loads, and they were obliged to change 
their course to due south, parallel with the lofty mountain 
range with peaks rising to between 7000 and 11,000 feet, on each 
of which Captain Scott fixed the name of a living admiral. 
One or another was now always suffering from that intense 
inflammation of the eyes euphemistically termed " snow 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 77 

blindness," and one day in a fog they blindly crossed a tremend- 
ously deep crevasse without seeing it, though the snow bridge 
which carried them was the only narrow crossing place in its 
whole length. They struggled on past the 8ist parallel of 
latitude, and they hoped to reach 82° S. before turning — ^there 
was no longer a chance to reach the Pole. They were saving 
food now to have a full meal on Christmas Day. 

Hunger was constant. " We always dream of something 
to eat when asleep. . . . My general dream is that j&ne, three- 
cornered tarts are flying past me upstairs, but I never seem able 
to stop them. Billy dreams that he is cutting huge sand- 
wiches, for somebody else always. The captain — Plucky man — 
thinks he is eating stuff, but the joy only lasts in the dreams, 
for he is just as hungry when he wakes up." As to the feast : 

" Christmas Day. — Beautiful day, the warmest we have 
yet had — clear blue sky. We have made our best march, 
doing to-day 10 geographical miles, the surface in grand con- 
dition. Now we are entirely doing the pulling, the dogs being 
practically useless. Started breakfast at 8.30. Bill cook. 

Christmas breakfast : — a pannikin of seal's liver, with bacon 
mixed with biscuit, each ; topped up with a spoonful of black- 
berry jam ; then I set the camera, and we took our photographs 
with the Union Jack flying and our own sledge flags. I 
arranged this by connecting a piece of rope line to the lever. 
Then four hours' march. Had a hot lunch. I was cook — 
bovril, chocolate and Plasmon, biscuit, two spoonfuls of jam 
each. Grand ! ! Then another three hours' march and 
camped for the night. I was cook, and took thirty-five minutes 
to cook two pannikins of N. A. O. ration and biscuit for the 
hoosh, boiled plum-pudding, and made cocoa. I must, of 
course, own up that I boiled the plum-pudding in the water 
I boiled the cocoa in, for economy's sake ; but I think it was 
fairly quick time. The other two chaps did not know about 
the plum -pudding. It only weighed 6 oz., and I had it 
stowed away in my socks (clean ones) in my sleeping-bag, with 
a little piece of holly which I got from the ship. It was a 
glorious surprise to them — that plum-pudding — ^when I pro- 
duced it. They immediately got our emergency allowance 
of brandy so as to set it on fire in proper style ; but when the 
brandy was uncorked it was found to be black from corrosion 
in some manner, so was useless, and had to be thrown away. 
We turned in really full to-night. 


We have definitely settled our farthest South to be on the 
28th, as examination shows that the captain and I have slight 
scurvy signs. It will not be safe to go farther." 

They pushed southward, however, until the last day of the 
year. Wilson had to go blindfolded on account of "snow 
blindness," Shackleton was leading for two days. The last 
camp was about 8 miles from the western mountains, 
opposite a wide valley leading westward, to which Captain 
Scott gave the name of Shackleton Inlet. Beyond it rose two 
great summits, named Mt. Longstaff (over 10,000 feet) and 
Mt. Markham (over 15,000 feet). The latitude was 82° 15' S. 
A gallant attempt was made to reach the great red cliffs to the 
west ; but after descending to the bottom of a big snow gully 
with no little difficulty, a vertical ice cliff with overhanging 
summit more than 70 feet high barred them from the land of 

Shackleton 's diary does not record a tragedy of the last 
camp, his upsetting of the hoosh-pot, and the awful silence 
that followed when it seemed that some of the precious food 
was to run off the tent floor on to the snow. Even the captain 
in his faithful narrative failed to say how the silence was broken. 
But the food was eaten from the floor. 

The return journey had to be hastened, for there was just 
enough food on the sledges to last the party for a fortnight, 
and the distance of the first depot required an average of 7 
miles a day to reach it in the time. This was done. The dogs 
died or were killed to feed the survivors. The men struggled 
on, Shackleton going blindfolded for two days when " snow 
blindness " struck him ; but all pulling steadily. When they 
left the depot with renewed supplies of food on 14th January 
1903 the signs of scurvy were strong on all three, and a course 
was laid straight for the ship. 

That very day Shackleton had an attack of haemorrhage 
during a fit of coughing, and he was not allowed to pull the 
sledge any more nor to do any of the heavy camp work. But 
he continued to walk the 9 or 10 miles of the daily march. He 
acknowledges in the brief entries in the diary that he "was not 

THE DISCOVERY. 1901-1903 T9 

very well," and he constantly worried about the work done 
by the others when he was helpless to assist. They tended 
him with the devotion of true friends. A fortnight brought 
them to the second depot, and food was then abundant. The old 
familiar hills about Winter Quarters came in view. Shackleton 
grew worse daily; but he always struggled on and never 
collapsed, nor was he carried on the sledge, as rumour later 
declared. Captain Scott publicly denied the report when it ap- 
peared in a London paper ; nevertheless Sir Clements Markham 
posthumously repeated it in his Lands of Silence in 1920, to 
the grief and indignation of Shackleton. The long nightmare 
ended on 3rd February, when Skelton and Bernacchi came out 
on the ice to meet the returning party and helped them back 
to the Discovery. Shackleton's last entry runs : 

" I turned in at once when I got on board, not being up 
to the mark, after having a bath — ^that is the first for ninety-four 
days. It is very nice to be back again, but it was a good time." 

The relief-ship Morning had arrived with letters from home. 
But the pleasure of them was marred by the captain's decision, 
based on the doctor's reports, that Shackleton should be in- 
valided home, and Lieutenant G. F. A. Mulock, R.N., of the 
Morning, kept in his place. It was the bitterest disappoint- 
ment of his life. He felt certain that his attack of scurvy was 
not really more serious than that of the others, and that a 
month's rest would make him as fit as they would be. But 
he was learning that the naval discipline he assented to so 
cheerily admitted of no *' reason why," and he went on board 
the Morning with an aspiration, soon to harden into a deter- 
mination, that he would yet prove to the Fleet and to the world 
that he was a fit man, perhaps even the fittest man, for polar 

Drawn towards home by tender ties, he yet felt more 
strongly drawn towards his old companions on the Discovery, 
who were ready for another year of adventure and the hope 
of great things to be found beyond the western mountains, 
where Armitage had discovered the existence of a vast plateau 
10,000 feet above the sea. On 28th February he sailed on the 


Morning, and his lingering gaze on Mount Erebus interpreted 
the semaphoring of its smoke banner not as Farewell, but as 
Au Revoir. 

On 19th March he landed in New Zealand a sound man 
once more, and he was not a little consoled by the hearty 
welcome he received from every one there. For several weeks 
he worked diligently at Christchurch on matters connected with 
the stores for the next year's voyage of the Morning. After 
completing this task he passed a few days with new friends 
who were spending the summer in the wild solitude of the 
Otira Gorge. His hosts could never induce him to talk of his 
own adventures in the Antarctic ; but they got their informa- 
tion on this subject at second hand from the children, to whopi 
ne opened out in the confidence of walks in the bush. 

He sailed from Auckland on 9th May in the Orotava, bound 
for San Francisco, on the way to New York and home. 

SHORE JOBS. 1908-1906 

" Therefore from job to job I've moved along. 
Pay could not hold me when my time was done, 
For something in my head upset me all, 
Till I had dropped whatever 'twas for good. 
And, out at sea, beheld the dock-lights die, 
And met my mate — the wind that tramps the world." 

RuDYARD Kipling. 

THE annual conversazione of the Royal Geographical 
Society, held in the Natural History Museum at Crom- 
well Road, was, during the presidency of Sir Clements 
Markham, one of the most brilliant gatherings of the London 
season. Travellers who had faced the exhibits, while yet alive 
in their native haunts, governors and ex-governors of every 
state and province of the Empire, and admirals who, having 
left the sea, could still catch some savour of the great times 
of the past amongst the wanderers of to-day, were always 
numerous enough to allow the thousand or so of ordinary 
Fellows of the Society feel the glamour of the world, for to 
all of them it was " our conversazione." Amongst such a crowd 
Shackleton, though not alone, wandered very much a stranger 
on 17th June 1903, a day or two after his return to England. 
" That can't be Shackleton," was the usual comment when 
one pointed out his great athletic figure and bronzed counten- 
ance with eyes flashing happiness and fun. "Surely he was 
never invalided home ! " And every one who had the oppor- 
tunity heard, delighted, the first word-of-mouth news of the 
great Antarctic Expedition. 

Amongst those who listened to what he had to say that 
evening and later, two men were keenest in their interest in the 


Discovery and her discoveries. One of these was Sir Joseph 
Hooker, whose memory of sixty years before, when he was 
assistant surgeon on the Erebus, remained so vivid that he 
identified point after point in the photographs brought home by 
Shackleton as familiar landmarks in the great voyage of his youth. 
The other was Sir John Murray, then president of the Royal 
Scottish Geographical Society, who had been the junior naturalist 
of the Challenger thirty years before, and had but recently 
finished the compilation of the fifty huge volumes which com- 
prised the Reports of that expedition. They recognized kinship 
with the young lion of the Antarctic, whose premature return 
had made him the first to be greeted with the praise due to 
the expedition. He made a point of seeing the relatives of all 
his comrades, conve5mig the good news of the happiness of 
the wintering and the strenuous joys of the sledge journeys. 

Greetings over, the question of his own future became his 
main concern. He would gladly have joined the Royal Navy, 
the merits and prospects of which had been well advertised 
by the ward-room mess of the Discovery, and he hoped that the 
Admiralty might see in his voluntary service under the King's 
regulations groimd for transferring his commission from the 
Royal Naval Reserve to the Royal Navy itself. The Admiralty 
were only willing to credit his service on the Discovery by pro- 
motion from Sub-lieutenant to Lieutenant R.N.R. on his 
obtaining a test certificate for drill. That would have been 
useful had he thought of returning to the Union Castle Line ; 
but he had had enough of the mercantile marine, so did not 
qualify, and, in the following year, resigned from the Naval 

For a few months he was kept busy at the congenial work 
of seeing to the stores and outfitting of a second relief ship for 
the National Antarctic Expedition. Sir Clements Markham 
had made a perhaps too impassioned appeal for fimds to send 
out the Morning again in case the Discovery was not able to 
break out of the ice in the following February. He got the 
money, and the Morning was dispatched ; but the Admiralty 
took alarm at the idea of so many naval officers and men being 
perhaps lost to the service for another year, and they, altogether 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 88 

irrespective of the committee, purchased a fine large sealer, 
the Terra Nova, at Dundee, and employed Shackleton to assist 
Admiral Aldrich in getting her ready under extreme pressure 
of time. So Shackleton enjoyed some busy weeks at Dundee, 
where he was quite at home, as he had been there often when 
the Discovery was building, and before the end of August the 
Terra Nova was off, with orders from the Admiralty to desert 
the Discovery if she could not be got out and to bring the whole 
expedition home. Never was a polar ship so honoured as the 
Terra Nova, for she was towed by successive men-of-war to 
Port Said, where she passed through the Suez Canal, and then 
on to Aden, whence she proceeded under her own steam. At 
the same time Shackleton also had a hand in the equipment 
of another expedition, which was being sent out by the Argentine 
Government in their gunboat Uruguay, under the command of 
Captain Irizar, then naval attache at the Argentine Legation 
in London. The object of this expedition was to rescue Dr. 
Otto Nordenskjold and his companions of the Swedish Expedi- 
tion which had wintered for two years in the north-west comer 
of the Weddell Sea, and whose ship, the Antarctic, had been 
caught in the terrible pack ice of that sea, and after being crushed 
had gradually settled down and sunk on I2th February with 
her flag flying. 

In September the British Association met at Southport, 
and Shackleton showed the slides of the Discovery expedition 
to a large and delighted audience in Section E, Geography. 
The pictures were novel and fascinating, but the charm of the 
meeting was the artless sincerity of the speaker, then quite 
unversed in platform tactics, but telling his tale in the words 
that came to hand. One of the slides, unnoticed by Shackleton, 
began to melt at the edges, and the operator quietly slipped 
it out of the lantern to allow it cool ; but the lecturer's eye, 
caught it just disappearing, and, quite forgetful of the audience, 
he hailed the lanternist in a tremendous voice, as if he were 
ordering a boat back to the side of a ship — " Hullo, you there ! 
Bring— that — slide — BACK ! " Probably he never gave so 
delightful a lecture again, for he lost sight of everything but 
his subject. 


Talking about the Discovery was very fine, but it was neces- 
sary to find some remunerative employment, with at least 
promise enough of a future competence to justify marriage in 
his sanguine mind. While in the Antarctic he had often spoken 
of journalism as a career, and expressed some belief in his fitness 
in that way to make a fortune — a living was too meagre a 
prospect ever to dominate his plans. Now he secured a position 
in Sir Arthur Pearson's office as sub-editor of the Royal Maga- 
zine, and for the first time in his life he set himself seriously to 
work on shore. During the autumn of 1903 he was attending 
daily with a scrupulous exactitude as to hours at Henrietta 
Street, Covent Garden. He took to! the life with infinite zest, 
and in a very short time he endeared himself to the whole staff 
of the office, for they recognized in him not the sort of man 
who usually wrote things, but a living specimen of the sort of 
man they were always writing about — ^the man who did things. 
His literary style in those days was far too high flown, and 
had to be deflated before publication. He was careless in proof 
reading, nevertheless Mr. P. W. Everett, under whom he served, 
could write : 

" His knowledge of the technical side of bringing out a 
magazine was nil. But five minutes' conversation with the 
man was enough to show me that he possessed what was far 
more useful than mere technical knowledge, which any one 
can acquire, namely : fresh ideas, interest, enthusiasm, and 
keen journalistic insight. ... He was the most charming of 
men. There was not an ounce of * side ' in him ; he was ' hail- 
fellow-well-met ' with every man he came across. I never 
met a more exhilarating man, a more genial, a better com- 
panion, a racier raconteur. ... I can see him still, his face, 
heavy and stem in repose, all alive and lit up with the excite- 
ment of retailing his hairbreadth escapes by field and flood. 
I can hear the deep, husky voice rising and falling with the 
movement of his story, and sometimes raised, by way of illus- 
trating his point, to a rafter-shaking roar." 

He wrote an account of the first year's work of the Dis- 
covery for Pearson's Magazine, and with the reckless generosity 
that he could never overcome, gave the whole proceeds to the 
Discovery Relief Fund. He was a member of the Royal 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 85 

Societies Club, and often lunched there at the round table 
frequented by the officials of the Royal Geographical Society 
in the days when i Savile Row was the hub of the geograph- 
ical universe. There he met the latest travellers from every 
quarter of the globe, and talked over schemes for future ex- 
ploration and the regeneration of the world. At this time he 
was enthusiastic about a proposed international news agency, 
promoted by a plausible foreigner, which was to collect the 
truth, and nothing but the absolutely uncoloured truth, from 
every country, and transmit it in pellucid purity to the grate- 
ful Press of the world. This alluring vision sweetened life 
for him for a year or more before it faded to room for 
a new excitement. 

The path to fortune through journalism could only be 
traversed slowly, and something more promising took its 
place. The return of the German expedition in the Gauss, 
after vain endeavours to extend its small discovery of Kaiser 
Wnhelm Land south of Kerguelen Island, stimulated interest 
in the Antarctic, and in November Shackleton was asked to 
lecture in Dundee and Aberdeen for the Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society. He was well received in Scotland, and 
he found that there was a vacancy in the Secretaryship of 
the Society in Edinburgh, which he was quick to see offered 
better social prospects, if no more pecuniary attractions, than 
London journalism. He soon made up his mind that this was 
the thing for him " and for her." Indeed, when he first inter- 
viewed the honorary secretary, he frankly declared that he 
must have a job, because he wanted to get married, and he 
thought he would like this job. 

The formal application was sent in on 4th December, and 
two days later he met the Recommendations Committee in 
Edinburgh, was duly selected, and at the first Council Meeting 
in January 1904 he was formally elected Secretary and 
Treasurer at a salary which was more nicely adjusted to the 
resources of the Society than to the dignity of the office. The 
Royal Scottish Geographical Society was founded in 1884 at 
a time when Edinburgh was a great world-centre of geo- 
graphical activity, being the headquarters of the Challenger 


Commission, and of various institutions primarily religious, 
scientific or commercial, in which geographical knowledge 
was of high importance. After a career of twenty years the 
main body of the Council remained the same, not only as re- 
gards the interests represented, but even individually. Were 
it not for the quick and open mind of Dr. J. G. Bartholomew, 
the great cartographer, who had filled the post of honorary 
secretary from the first, the natural calmness of maturity 
might conceivably have barred the Society against the spirit 
of innovation. But Dr. Bartholomew was supported by a 
few open-minded councillors, and Sir John Murray was the 
president of the year, so that the dignity and decorum which 
had been fostered by the late secretary, who had been placed 
upon the Council, were felt to be secure. The course of a learned 
society in Edinburgh had always been grave and ceremonial, 
black coats alone appeared at the Council table, discussion 
was deliberate, and resolutions were framed with the formality 
of a court of law. Hence, when Shackleton lounged into his 
office on the first day in a light tweed suit, smoking a 
cigarette, and greeting his assistants with a joke, there was 
some natural shaking of heads. There would have been more 
if an incident of the early days had come to the knowledge of 

One morning in February he and Miss Dorman, who had 
been busy with the decorators and furnishers of their future 
home, came into the meeting-room of the Society, then the 
ground floor of the National Portrait Gallery in Quepn Street, 
which was separated by heavy curtains into two rooms for 
office work, they foimd an assistant practising with a golf -ball, 
which he was driving from the far end of the room into the 
curtain. Instead of rebuking his subordinate, Shackleton 
borrowed the club, and tried his prentice hand at the game. 
He drove a ball through a pane of the window, right across the 
street, and far into the Gardens on the other side. 

He put the same energy with the same lack of conventional 
reserve into work as into play. On 25th February he met the 
whole Society and a large part of the Edinburgh public face 
to face in the great Synod Hall, where he delivered a lecture 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 8T 

on " Farthest South," and established in that one hour a re- 
putation as a good speaker and a cheery friend which was never 
belied. Very soon he was chuckling over having secured 
twenty-five new members and £125 worth of new advertise- 
ments for the Magazine. Almost before the astonished Council 
realized to what they had given their consent, the telephone 
was installed, a typewriter was clicking gaily, and a formidable 
labour-saving engine, termed an addressograph, was doing a 
week's output of addressed covers in a couple of hours. 
Within three months of his appointment he had awakened 
the Society to the full activity of its early years ; and so keen 
was he to prevent it from settling into its former calm, that 
he even persuaded his bride to dispense with a honejnnoon. 

The day to which he had been looking forward through 
seven years, with a fervour that made them in retrospect seem 
as one day, was Saturday, 9th April 1904, when at Christ 
Church, Westminster, Ernest Henry Shackleton and Emily 
Mary Dorman were married. Mr. Cyril Longhurst, the 
secretary of the Discovery expedition, was best man, and all 
the friends of Antarctic exploration and explorers then in 
London were present, all believing, as his parents and sisters 
believed, after the first voyage on the Hoghton Tower, that he 
had had enough of wandering and was now " to Hve happy 
ever after." 

The newly-married pair spent Sunday in Peterborough, 
and on Monday evening they were home and enjoying ** a 
glorious picnic " in their little house, 14 South Learmonth 
Gardens, Edinburgh, indifferent to the fact that the electric 
lighting was not in order, and rejoicing that the new servants 
had not yet arrived. The house is situated at the extreme 
north-west corner of Edinburgh, not a house beyond it, and 
it looks straight across the fields to Fettes College and beyond 
it to the Firth of Forth and the coast of Fife, with the twin 
peaks of the Lomond Hills and the long ridge of the Ochils, 
over which in clear weather one can sometimes catch a 
glimpse of the dim, blue buttresses of the Highlands. 

Mrs. Shackleton brought not only the charm of her per- 
sonality to the help of her husband in his new position, but 


also introductions from old friends, which opened every door 
and ensured a welcome from the most exclusive circle of social 
life in Edinburgh. To many who view this circle only from 
without, social Edinburgh has seemed but " an east-windy, 
west-endy place," as Professor John Stuart Blackie put it long 
ago ; for to the outsider the circle is apt to appear as frigid as 
the Antarctic, meeting the world in a ring of cold shoulders 
draped with the sombre gowns of judges, church-leaders, pro- 
fessors, and advocates, with here and there the stiff back of an 
officer from the Castle. Within, it was in the opening years 
of the twentieth century warm with kindliness, bright with 
cultured intelligence, glowing with humour and flashing with 
wit, retaining still much that was best in the Edinburgh which 
was to Sir Walter Scott " mine own romantic town." Here 
Shackleton was in a new world which gratified him as he pleased 
it, and he made new friends who held the keys to many locks. 
He had opportunities of familiar conversation with statesmen 
like Lord Rosebery, men of science and culture like Professor 
Crum Brown, leaders of the business world like Mr. William 
Beardmore, guardians of the social charm of bygone days Hke 
Mrs. W. Y. Sellar, and luminaries of the Bench, the Bar, 
and the University, who were deep in all the movements of 
the time. Rarely has so dazzling a transformation befallen 
the third mate of a steamer in the course of three short 

The shadow of the Antarctic lay athwart the dial of his 
life even in this bright and busy year. Dr. W. S. Bruce, the 
first British subject to promote and carry out an Antarctic 
expedition on his own responsibility, had spent two summers 
in the Weddell Sea, into which he had twice pushed to very high 
latitudes. In the first season he had reached the point where 
Sir James Ross had reported an oceanic depth of 4000 fathoms 
and proved that the real depth was 2660. In the second 
season he got to a higher latitude than was ever before reached 
in those waters, and found a new coast hidden in the mists 
which he named Coats Land, after his most munificent sup- 
porter ; greatest feat of all, as the future proved, he was able, 
thanks to the splendid ice navigation of Captain Thomas 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 89 

Robertson, to keep the Scotia free and to bring her safe out 
of the reach of the drifting floes. In July the Scotia returned 
to the Clyde, and Shackleton had the pleasure of carrying out 
arrangements for the worthy reception of the men his Society 
delighted to honour. The gold medal of the Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society was presented to Dr. Bruce by the 
President, Sir John Murray, when the explorers landed in 
triumph at Millport. 

The summer was spent in Dornoch, trying to learn golf, 
with an interlude at the British Association meeting in Cam- 
bridge. Then came another moving ceremony of welcome. 
The Discovery had lain in her cradle of ice for a year after 
Shackleton had left her, and in the second summer Captain Scott 
had made a journey of 300 miles across the great ice-covered 
plateau beyond the western mountains. The relief ships 
Morning and Terra Nova had appeared, and with a breaking 
heart Captain Scott was carrying out his orders to transfer 
all collections to them and desert the old ship when, with one 
last tremendous effort, he had freed the Discovery from the 
ice. He brought her back to New Zealand, and then across the 
Southern Ocean, through Magellan Strait, to England. On i6th 
September Shackleton took part in the festivities which greeted 
his old comrades in London, a lunch on the deck of the Dis- 
covery in the East India Dock, and a great dinner by the 
Royal Geographical Society. Later he shared the honours 
showered on the expedition which had inaugurated Antarctic 
land travel — ^the King's award of the Polar Medal, an octagon 
hung from a white ribbon, and a silver replica of the special 
gold medal presented by the Royal Geographical Society to 
Captain Scott. | 

During the autumn he brought out a Prospectus and Pro- 
gramme of his own Society's lecture session, beautifully got 
up and illustrated in a way which took away the breath of the 
older-fashioned members of Council. 

In November, the Twentieth Anniversary Banquet of the 
Society was graced by the presence of Captain Scott, Dr. W. S. 
Bruce, and Sir Clements Markham, who stayed with the 
Shackletons for several days. In the course of the month 


the two Antarctic leaders lectured to the Society on their 
expeditions at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee. In December 
Shackleton himself gave a Christmas lecture to an immense 
audience of children. So little removed was he from the 
spirit of youth that in acknowledging an uproarious vote of 
thanks he said — so we are assured by one of the audience — 
" Now, you kids, I'll put you up to a good thing. If you 
want to see what sledging is like, go home and harness the 
baby to the coal-scuttle and drive round the dining-room 
table " ; and after the laughter, " but don't tell mother I 
told you I " 

So ended a year memorable in the history of the Society, 
more memorable in the history of its secretary, who was already 
feeling for the next step. He had had much talk on the politics 
of the day, and his views, so far as he had formed views, 
appeared to the Liberal-Unionist politicians to be sufficiently 
near those by which the party steered to justify overtures being 
made as to his willingness to stand for Parliament. The pos- 
sibilities were alluring to an ambitious young man ; the party 
agents suggested his name as a candidate for Dundee, a two- 
member constituency so stubbornly Radical that there was 
no real question as to the result except as to whether a Labour 
member might beat one of the two Gladstonian Liberals who 
would otherwise be almost certainly returned. To a person 
not shackled in party politics it would appear just possible 
that a vigorous, impetuous, and popular Unionist might have 
a sporting chance of winning one of the seats ; but to run two 
Unionist candidates coupled together was merely a demonstra- 
tion to encourage the party in other fields. In Dundee itself 
such opposition could not be expected to produce any other 
result on the election than to spur the Liberal and Labour 
organizations to greater activity. ' 

Early in the autumn Shackleton had seen the Liberal- 
Unionist chiefs in London. They recognized the good fighter 
he was, and early in January 1905 he appeared before the local 
party organization in Dimdee, was duly approved, and formally 
adopted as their candidate for the next general election. 
Shackleton viewed it as a fine adventure and a tremendous 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 91 

lark, and he was quite unprepared for the way in which the 
news affected the Council of his Society. For one thing, the 
traditional view of the secretary of a learned society was that 
he should within reasonable limits be all things to all men and 
should carefully abstain from wounding the susceptibility of 
any member. Hence both Unionists and their opponents were 
at one in deprecating the appearance of a member of the paid 
staff in the political arena ; besides, such a thing was absolutely 
unheard of, and the unprecedented must be held to be bad until 
the lapse of much time showed that it might be otherwise. The 
Liberals in the Society naturally objected to their secretary 
fighting against their principles ; the Unionists were for the 
most part shocked that a young man bred to the sea and of 
no political experience or maturity of thought should lightly 
rush in on what they held to be sacred ground, for in Scotland 
the solemnity of political responsibility is second only to that 
of religion. Hence a crisis arose which Shackleton's quick wit 
readily seized, and in formally announcing his intentions to 
the Council he offered to resign the secretaryship. This spirited 
action rallied his friends to him. Sir John Murray, whose strong, 
unconventional nature warmed to a man who had so much in 
common with himself when young, had been followed in the 
presidency by another who was less sympathetic ; but the re- 
signation was not accepted, and matters remained as they were 
for a time. 

In February, Shackleton's eldest son was born, and the 
proud father on seeing the morsel of humanity only a few 
hours old exclaimed, " Good fists for fighting ! " Always fond 
of children, he overflowed with tenderness to his own, and 
little he cared for the critical attitude of his Council when 
his home held a wife and child that outweighed the whole 

The months went on with many visits to Dundee and London, 
and much hard thinking as to future prospects in case of political 
success or failure. The dream of a short cut to fortune was 
still with him. He saw agents waxing fat on commissions 
earned, apparently, with ridiculous ease, and he tried his hand 
quietly at several agencies in which his name did not appear. 


He acquired an interest in a tobacco concern, and when he 
announced at the Society that he had obtained a full-page 
advertisement of the Tabard cigarettes for the Magazine, only 
a very few and favoured friends knew who paid for it. 
His friend Mr. W. Beardmore held out hopes of profitable 
employment and a certainty of at least a financial equivalent 
of the secretaryship, so at last in July Shackleton resigned 
in earnest, was formally thanked by the Council, and at 
the earliest opportunity was elected a member of that 
august body. 

This made a difference : it was now reasonable that he should 
desire to serve his country in Parliament, and the Unionists saw 
that even if he failed to get in he would be a credit to their 
cause. So the period of secretaryship came to a seemly end; the 
Society had five hundred more members than when he entered 
on his duties, and the advertisement account of the Magazine 
was proportionally even more enhanced. His chief assistant, 
Mr. George Walker, now assistant secretary of the Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society, always had the most loyal admiration 
for him, and has passed on to the present day many of the 
clever devices and attractive methods which Shackleton was 
always originating. This friend attended the candidate for 
Dundee on his week-end visits to that city and eagerly helped 
in the work of the campaign. He summed up his recollections 
thus : " What impressed me most were his optimism when 
circumstances were adverse, his vitality, physical and mental, 
and his geniality and kindness." 

When free from the routine of his Edinburgh office Shackleton 
took a house at St. Andrews for the summer, and he and his 
wife were devoted frequenters of the golf course, starting before 
the crowd for the first round, and making another in the early 
afternoon. Although Shackleton was the less expert of the 
two, and his play was such as not to win the respect of the 
caddies, he was possessed by the game and talked of nothing 
else at meals, at least his sister-in-law used to complain that 
this was so. One day he resolved to play an appropriate 
practical joke upon her, and conspired with the cook to produce 
an entr^ of golf-balls beautifully concealed in egg and bread- 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 98 

crumbs and served on toast. The Shackletons enjoyed the 
struggles of their non-golfing relative to get her fork into the 
supposed rissoles, and the victim joined as heartily in the fun 
when she discovered the joke. 

Dr. Charles Sarolea, Belgian Consul in Edinburgh and 
Professor of French at the University, was frequently of the 
party, and became engaged to Miss Julia Dorraan, the heroine 
of the golf balls, before the sojourn was over. Shackleton and 
Dr. Sarolea proceeded to the Continent for a short visit in 
pursuit of the scheme for a great international news agency 
which still fluttered before him as an ignis fatuus. It brought 
him, however, an interesting interview with that sinister monarch. 
King Leopold ii., the first of the many foreign royalties with 
whom he was destined to confer. 

The idea of a new polar expedition was never very far from 
his mind, and in the course of this autumn he made ineffectual 
efforts to rouse enough interest in some wealthy people to loose 
their purse-strings. The political situation grew engrossing 
as the year went on, and Antarctic ambitions had faded for the 
time, when at last, on 4th December, the long-expected resigna- 
tion of the Unionist Government took place. Canvassing for 
votes absorbed all his thoughts. Never was a candidate more 
welcome in the house of a voter, for to friend and foe alike 
he was light-hearted, cheery, and jocular, with a vein of ardent 
conviction when he touched on the wrongs of the British sailor 
that never failed to seize the attention of a maritime com- 
munity. Once when in Edinburgh he missed a train, and 
rather than be late for a party meeting he took a special train, 
an impressive fact for a thrifty electorate. 

The last few weeks before the election went by in a swirl 
of talk. There were serious meetings in great halls, where 
Shackleton was hampered by sharing the platform with his 
Conservative colleague, Mr. A. Duncan Smith, a young advocate 
bom in Dundee who had stood for the city in the previous 
general election. Both had set forth the common principles 
of their allied parties — opposition to Home Rule for Ireland, 
fiscal reform in the direction of protection, a closer bond 
between the peoples within the Empire, and a strong Navy. 


In his address to the electors Shackleton had given his adherence 
to all these, saying of Ireland : 

*' As an Irishman myself, in sympathy with the Irish people, 
I am convinced, moreover, that my country has been gradually 
emerging from sad and bitter times to a more peaceful and 
brighter era ; and that this has been accompHshed by the 
wise measures, considerate administration, and great pecuniary 
assistance due to the Unionist Government." 

As to fiscal policy : 

" Actual free trade is an economic ideal ; but as an in- 
dustrial community we have to deal with the concrete con- 
ditions of the world of commerce and be prepared to use the 
weapons of the age. I go further, and say that we should be 
willing to consolidate our developing empire by a scheme of 
preference and fiscal union with a view to the ultimate realiza- 
tion of the British hope of free trade within the Empire." 

These were the machine-made views ardently held by every 
Unionist candidate at the general election of 1906 ; but the 
real man shone out later in the address : 

" I am whole-heartedly in favour of the manning of British 
ships by British seamen. I consider the employment of so 
many foreign seamen in our mercantile marine as not only an 
unsound position, but unfair to Britishers, and as a menace 
to the country in the eventuahty of war with foreign Powers. 
The British merchant sailor is without an equal at sea. I 
speak of this from actual experience — ^from a working knowledge 
as a sailor trained in the hard school of the stormy seas through- 
out the world. I know the greater value of one British seaman 
in rough weather, as compared with three foreigners under the 
same conditions." 

And in the final outburst : 

" I appeal to you, workers, to return me — a. worker myself, 
a worker by my hands as well as by my head, from the time 
I was a boy of sixteen — ^as one who by the hard road of manual 
toil has been brought up to understand the conditions of the 
working man and to sympathize with him." 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 95 

The strong sincerity of this solidarity with labour was quickly 
recognized, and at one of the meetings a grey-haired working man 
shouted to him, " Come on our side, boy, and we'll put you in at 
the top of the poll " ; and very likely they would have done it. 

iTis opponents were Mr. Edmund Robertson (the sitting 
member) and Mr. Henry Robson (Liberals), and Mr. Wilkie 
(Labour). Mr. Robson had capped some sarcastic verses by 
Shackleton, who, at his next meeting, responded that he be- 
lieved Mr. Robson had caught a disease and that he had got 
the infection of poetry from him ; now he only wished that 
Mr. Robson would catch the salutary infection of fiscal reform 
from him as well. He went on to improvise a limerick on 
Free Trade, where the ghost of Cobden addressed Sir Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman : 

" Said Cobden, ' You simple C.-B., 
I meant the world's trade to be free ; 

But when nations protect, 

I should strongly object 
To allow them to fatten on me.' " 

Such things provoked much laughter in the heated halls, 
and served to grease the wheels. Shackleton was at his best 
in dealing with the hecklers, who in Scotland have brought 
the practice of the cross-examination of candidates to a per- 
fection unknown elsewhere. Here his quickness of repartee 
dehghted his audiences, and he became as fast friends with his 
most pertinacious opponents as with his own supporters. It 
was a tough job sometimes, as when he supported Chinese 
labour in the Transvaal mines because a large majority of 
the people of the Transvaal wanted it ; on which a heckler 
said : "So, since 95 per cent, of the people of Ireland want 
Home Rule you would give it ? " His reply was, " I'm an Irish- 
man myself, and I would never give them anything that is not 
good for them." There was an analogous case in Scotland also 
which led to the question, "Do you approve of Poles being 
allowed to work in Lanarkshire mines ? " "I would shift every 
Pole," he replied. — " The South Pole ? " queried a voice.— 
" The only poll I would not shift is that which I am to be at 
the head of— with Mr. Smith I " Of Woman-sufirage he had 


never had a serious thought, but for the question flashed at 
him, " Would you give votes for women ? " he had a happy 
inspiration. " Hush 1 " he said, in a hoarse whisper. " The 
fact is, my wife is present," and the roar of laughter solved the 
problem for the time. 

He was most popular of all at the impromptu dinner-hour 
meetings at the various works or docks, where his knowledge 
of the sailor-man and his easy use of sailor-language made a 
delightful contrast to his auditors with the suave and formal 
Mr. Smith. " I like that fimny beggar ! " shouted an excited 
worker after a typical yam. 

When at last the polling day arrived, on i6th January, he 
was tired but undaunted, and the great voice which had roused 
the testy comment in the early days, " Dinna shout sae loud. 
Lord, man ! we're no deef," had grown hoarse, as he said : 

" This is my fifty-fifth and last meeting. Dundee will ever 
remain with me a memory of straightforward talk and straight- 
forward answers on both sides." 

While the votes were being coimted his wife and her sister 
were waiting in their private sitting-room in a hotel late on a 
cold night. The fire had gone out, the window was open to 
catch the first sign of the result. Suddenly there was cheering 
in the distance, the sharp whirr of a telephone bell below, and 
on rushing to the stair with the question, " Who has got in ? " 
the ladies met a little German waiter rimning up excited and 
hair on end calling out, " Robertson and Vilkee." 

The former Liberal member and the Labour man had been 
returned with great majorities. Shackleton, who had nour- 
ished some hope of success up to the end, came in quietly, full 
of good humour, and that night enjoyed the best sleep he had 
had for months. He had done his best, and, Hke Alan Breck, 
he knew that he had been a bonny fighter. 

The result of the poll was : 

Robertson (Liberal) . 

. 9276 

WiLKiE (Labour) 

. 6709 

RoBSON (Liberal) 

. 5998 

Shackleton (L.U.) 

. 3865 

Smith (Conservative) . 

. 3183 

SHORE JOBS. 1903-1906 97 

No fewer than 769 had voted for Wilkie and Shackleton, a fact 
which shows how strong a hold he had on the working men. 
Many years later, when reminded at a lecture in Dundee of his 
immeftse popularity during this election, he remarked placidly, 
" Yes. I got all the applause, and the other fellows got all 
the votes." 

Shackleton was much in London during February 1906 
on one of the fortune-hunts into which his inexperience of 
business methods was constantly attracting him. This time 
it was a contract for the transport of Russian troops from 
Vladivostok to the Baltic by sea. His associates had led him 
to look on this as almost a certainty, and he was preparing 
for a five months' absence to superintend the operations when 
the scheme fell through. 

His friend Mr. W. Beardmore (now Lord Invemaim) 
found him a less sensational but more secure position in his 
great engineering works at Parkhead, Glasgow, where he acted 
as secretary of a technical committee which the firm had 
established for the investigation of gas-engines with a view 
to the more economical production of power. Here there 
were opportunities of meeting with hard-headed, practical 
men of business, shrewd in their outlook on commercial affairs, 
and alive to the possibilities presented by the application of 
the latest scientific research. It was a wholesome corrective 
to the excitement of visionary news agencies, and the hunt 
for contracts to yield fabulous profits. 

Shackleton kept on his house in Edinburgh, leaving every 
morning at seven o'clock to take the train to Glasgow, and 
returning late in the evening ; often not returning the same 
day, for there were frequent business visits to London, travelling 
by sleeper one night and returning in the same way the next. 

In summer the Shackletons took a house at Queensferry 
almost under the Forth Bridge, and one day they saw a naval 
ship coming to her anchorage. Shackleton got up on the roof 
of his house, attracted the attention of the officer of the watch, 
and signalled an invitation to the ward-room officers to come 
ashore and visit him. The ship was H.M.S. Berwick, and one 
of the officers who came ashore was Lieutenant J. B. Adams, 


R.N.R. The acquaintance ripened quickly, as is usual with 
naval men, and as the talk turned on exploration in the Ant- 
arctic, Adams said that if Shackleton ever went out again he 
would go with him. The idea of a new expedition, which was 
rooted in Shackleton 's mind, had been peeping out at intervals 
for years past ; but something always arose to drive it back 
again into hiding. But the leaven was working, and the long 
equipment for his lifework was very nearly complete. 

His childhood in Ireland, his boyhood at Sydenham, his 
hard-driven youth on the Hoghton Tower and the Shire Line 
tramps in all the seas, his post-graduate course in the easier and 
pleasanter routine of the Castle Line, his joyful preliminary 
dash into exploration on the Discovery, the refining influences 
of his marriage and the polished society of Edinburgh, the 
breaking in to business habits and the thrilling quests for 
political honours and speculative fortune, had all been fashion- 
ing and tempering his life as an instrument for great achieve- 
ments. And all the time his friends were hoping and almost 
believing that he was "settling down." 

An impression of the man at the close of his equipment 
and before he had entered on achievement, cannot be given 
better than in the words of Mrs. Hope Guthrie : 

" I first met Ernest Shackleton early in 1904 at a friend's 
country house, where a small party had been gathered for the 
week-end. I remember that I hardly spoke to him until towards 
the end of the first evening, when three of us, including himself, 
being seated near the fire, one of us asked him some question 
about the Antarctic. The whole man flashed into an extra- 
ordinary vividness, he drew his chair eagerly forward and began 
to talk. ... An hour later we awoke to the fact that here 
was a youthful and very modem mariner who had held us as 
spellbound as ever the immortal Ancient Mariner held the 
Wedding Guest, and that behind the eye that held us lay the 
dominance of genius. 

Next day, during a motoring excursion in the midst of a 
furious snowstorm, I struck another vein in the rich personality. 
The question, ' Do you love poetry ? ' was shouted at me, 
and above the wind I heard the rhythmic chant of great lines. 
His love of poetry was passionate, and he stored his mind with 
—not passages — ^but whole poems and pages of Shakespeare, 

SHORE JOBS. 1908-1906 99 

Browning, the Bible, Kipling, Service, and others. Poetry 
was his other world, and he explored it as eagerly as he did the 
great Antarctic spaces. . . . 

Everyone who knew him knew his love of Browning, and 
that he seemed to be an incarnation of that poet's virile faith 
and optimism ; many also have marvelled at his memory, 
and indeed its scope and exactness were marvellous. I once 
asked him if, when he had read a page of Shakespeare in order 
to commit it to memory, he had ever to glance at it a second 
time, and he replied : " Sometimes to make sure of the 
punctuation ! " Since his death the poignant memory abides 
with me of his repeating in a summer garden the beautiful 
dirge : 

' Fear no more the heat o' the sun. 

Nor the furious winter's rages. 
Thou thy worldly task hast done. 

Home art gone and ta'en thy wages.' 

I sometimes wonder if the man who has a genius, not only 
for exploration, but for organization and leadership, does not 
occupy one of the most difficult and delicate positions open 
to genius. He is as absorbed in the plan of his work and in 
attaining the best tools and material for it as the artist or 
poet, but they may shut themselves away when the frenzy is 
upon them, and their seclusion is, upon the whole, respected ; 
the explorer, on the contrary, must needs be in human contact 
upon every side and all the time, and it may work him not a 
little woe if in his fury of absorption he happens to hurt human 
feehngs — or failings. Even the ordinary public man knows 
this difficulty. 

I have heard Ernest Shackleton say with a sort of bewilder- 
ment after a spell of intense physical and mental exertion, * You 
know so-and-so is hurt, and I didn't mean it.' And indeed I 
::ever knew any man greater hearted or more generous both 
in thought and deed. He was direct and simple as a child, 
with something often of the artlessness of a child, hated to 
refuse anything asked of him, and, when disillusioned and hurt 
himself, never ' nursed a grudge.' To many of the loyal friends 
who loved him he seemed even too generous. 

When to genius is added a pronounced Celtic strain, the 
daring of the sailor, and eternal hopefulness, one may anticipate 
a certain amount of risk. A sailor is proverbially bad at 
' driving a bargain,' and not a few harder beings have benefited 
by this knowledge. On every side his was 'the mould and 
mind to which adventures come.' . . . His brilliant imagina- 
tion and versatility were very attractively shot with boyishness, 


so that one could be happily sure of him treating ' daft ' sug- 
gestions and romancings with proper attention and sympathy 
— as the ever young ever do. . . . And as he was the ready 
comrade in any frolic or flight of fancy, so we found him always 
the true comrade in trouble and sorrow ; added to his magnetic 
qualities and the tonic of his personality was a tact and delicate 
sympathy in which one could unfailingly confide. He in- 
vigorated and inspired one to fight the good fight, not only in 
life's big things, but also in ' the littlenesses that hold so much 
of the great woeful heart of things ' ; all these he understood, 
and heartened one for the fray or for endurance." 



. . . Know, not for knowing's sake. 
But to become a star to men for ever ; 
Know for the gain it gets, the praise it brings. 
The wonder it inspires, the love it breeds. 
Look one step onward, and secure that step." 

Robert Browning. 

Ernest IIknry Shackleton, aged 33, 

Face p. 103. 


" Are there not, Festus, are there not, dear Michal, 
^ Two points in the adventure of a diver? 

I One when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge; 

* One when, a prince, he rises with his pearl ? 

Festus, I plunge ! " 

Robert Browning. 

THE plans of renewed exploration which had been 
maturing in Shackleton's mind were kept to himself 
during the later months of 1906, in order not to add 
to his wife's anxieties; and perhaps his first clear hint was 
given in a letter to a friend, dated from Parkhead Works, 
Glasgow, on 26th December, the day when a sudden blizzard 
swept the British Isles and laid all England under a blanket 
of snow. 

" You can imagine how work presses on me here when I 
tell you that even on Christmas Day I had to make my usual 
daily journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow. 

" You will be pleased to hear that the most interesting 
Christmas present I got was from my wife, who on Sunday 
morning introduced to the family a splendid little girl. 

"I see nothing of the old Discovery people at all. We are 
all scattered, and the fickle public are tired of the polar work 
at present. What would I not give to be out there again doing 
the job, and this time really on the road to the Pole ! " 

A week or so later he opened his mind to Mr. Beardmore, 
who, attracted by the idea and full of confidence in the pro- 
moter, agreed to guarantee a considerable part. of the estimated 
expense of an expedition, and the spirit of Shackleton leaped 
before him to draw up detailed plans for his prospective triumph. 


It was easier to plan an expedition than to tell his wife, not 
yet recovered, that he had renounced the last of his shore 
jobs ; but he did it very humorously, pointing out how 
delightful it would be for him to return to the new baby with 
stories of how he had climbed the border moimtains of Victoria 
Land and looked over into green valleys where quaint little 
people were carrying on a fairy-like existence in conditions 
such as never were in the humdrum world. The announcement, 
tenderly put, was bravely taken, and heart -stricken as she was 
with the thought of a long separation, Mrs. Shackleton offered 
no discouragement, but set herself to help forward the plans 
as they developed. 

It was not lightly that Shackleton undertook to equip an 
expedition on credit, for it amounted to this, as he pledged 
himself to redeem the guarantees from the sale of his pro- 
spective book and the results of his future lectures if the venture 
proved successful. He was much disquieted by the fear that 
a foreign expedition would set out for Victoria Land before he 
could get ready. On 4th February he wrote to a friend : 

" Re the Expedition : I have been full of anxiety about the 
other nations, and am hoping that by the end of this week I 
wiQ have nearly all the money guaranteed and shall announce 
it before the 12th. I have had three years' struggle and tackled 
seventy-odd rich men, but I think the end is in sight ; only 
one cannot say it until the money is actually safe. You will 
know before any one else in London. 

" I think that if the other nations can get money to go 
we ought to, but I have put a black mark against a good many 
men I " 

The seventy-odd rich men have purchased a large section 
of oblivion for themselves by their caution, and no geographer 
will seek to penetrate the shade that hides them. A few 
generous supporters were found who gave with gladness what 
they could afford, and if the limitation of their resources 
made it impossible to have a really good ship for the expedition, 
that only enhanced, as it happened, the reputation of the 
good workman who could use the inferior tools. Amongst the 
willing supporters we may mention the Misses Dawson Lambton, 

SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 105 

who had presented the balloon to the Discovery, and had been 
devoted friends of Shackleton from the day when he showed 
them over that ship in 1901 ; Mr. G. A. McLean Buckley 
(New Zealand), Mr. Campbell Mackellar, Mr. Sydney Lysaght, 
Mr. A. M. Fry, Colonel Alexander Davis, Mr. H. H. Bartlett, 
Mr. Wm. Bell, Shackleton's kinsman, and in a very special way 
his brother-in-law, Mr. C. H. Dorman. 

Fear of foreign competition was a sharp spur to hasten 
preparations and allow the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, 
to be first in the field for the new race for polar honours. Dr. 
Ar9towski, a prominent member of the Belgica Expedition, 
was struggling, vainly as it proved, though then with every 
prospect of success, to lead a new Belgian venture ; and Dr. 
Jean Charcot was building a polar ship with the hopeful name 
of Pourquoi Pas? to carry the French flag again into the 
Bellingshausen Sea. Other foreign projects , were on foot ; 
but except for a scheme by his old friend, Michael Bame, to 
explore Grahamland, and Bruce's hopes for the resumption 
of research in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton knew of no pro- 
jects which were likely to bring the British flag again into 
the Antarctic. 

On nth February Shackleton and Ar9towski were guests 
of the Kosmos Dining Club of the Royal Geographical Society, 
and each of them outlined his plans to a small company. Next 
morning Shackleton's expedition was announced in the news- 
papers, and a few weeks later the details were printed in the 
Geographical Journal, the organ of the Royal Geographical 

The plan was that from nine to twelve men should be landed 
in February 1908 at the old winter quarters of the Discovery ; 
the ship should then go back to New Zealand and return 
early in 1909 to bring them home. Three parties were to be 
formed, one to travel eastward over the Barrier and explore 
King Edward Land; one to winter near Mount Melbourne, 
and go westward across the moimtains to the South Magnetic 
Pole; and one, the main party, to go south on the Barrier, 
keeping farther away from the mountains than Captain Scott 
had done, to make a determined effort to reach the South Pole. 


Trajisport was to be effected by the use of Siberian or Man- 
churian ponies instead of dogs, and a specially-adapted motor- 
car was also to be taken ; but the sledges were to be of such a 
size that they could, in case of necessity, be hauled by men, 
while depots of provisions were to be left at each loo miles, 
to be picked up on returning along the outward route. A 
kinematograph and phonograph were to be taken for recording 
the ways of penguins, and various modifications of dress and 
diet suggested by previous experience were to be adopted. 
Research in magnetism, meteorology, geology, and biology 
was to be pursued, and the plan of the expedition provided 
for the working up of the results by the specialists themselves 
on their return. 

The plan was clear, concise, and scientific without any effort 
at being sensational, and, save for the probable benefits to 
weather forecasting in the southern hemisphere, and for the 
value of improved variation charts to navigation, there was 
no suggestion of a utilitarian appeal. 

The announcement brought an immediate flood of applica- 
tions for positions on the staff ; but, before considering any 
of these, Shackleton invited a number of the old Discovery 
party to join him. First of all came Dr. E. A. Wilson, the 
friend of all in the Discovery's ward-room. The offer was made 
with touching affection and generosity ; but Wilson had 
undertaken an important research into grouse disease, the 
completion of which demanded still two years of work, and he 
felt that honour compelled him to stick to his job. There 
was a hailstorm of letters and telegrams between the two, and 
Shackleton used every argument to secure his friend, whose 
final reply concluded : 

" I can only tell you that I would have jumped at your 
offer had I been free, and we would have had a really good time 
out there together. As it is, you will find some one else, and 
I shall hope and pray that you will make a really thorough and 
successful job of it to make up for all your former disappoint- 
ment. Bless you, my dear old boy, I can tell you honestly 
that I value your friendship above all things. You are a real 
trump to write as you have. — Yours ever. Bill." 

SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 107 

A visit to Plymouth found Skelton reabsorbed into the 
Navy, and contented to stay there, and Hodgson immersed 
in his marine zoology by the shore, and unwilling to face the 
Antarctic again. An offer of a place on the expedition to 
Mulock (who had succeeded Shackleton on the Discovery) 
brought the puzzling answer that he had already volimteered 
for Scott's expedition ; and a few days afterwards, on 24th 
February, a belated reply from Michael Barne, to whom 
Shackleton had offered the leadership of his Magnetic Pole 
Party, brought the staggering news that he had been acting 
for some time as a confidential agent for Captain Scott, who 
contemplated a new expedition from his old base in the course 
of a year or so. A few days later a letter from Captain Scott, 
then in command of H.M.S. Albemarle at Gibraltar, confirmed 
the news, and told of his surprise and concern at the announce- 
ment of Shackleton 's plans in The Times of 12th April. 
Shackleton replied, expressing his concern on learning of 
Scott's project, for which he was quite unprepared. 

The correspondence which followed between the two and 
Dr. Wilson, whose regard for both was equal, reflects the 
greatest credit on the good temper and restraint of all three. 
It was friendly, temperate, and restrained, though tense with 
the emotion of the matured ambition of two lives on the 
point of collision. Captain Scott asked Shackleton to modify 
his plans by adopting a base other than the old Discovery 
winter-quarters from which he himself hoped to lead a new 
expedition. Shackleton was most reluctant to abandon his 
scheme ; but as in many crises that were to come, the spirit of 
his Quaker ancestors calmed the storm that was rising in his 
mind, and on 6th March he cabled to Captain Scott : 

" Will meet your wishes regarding base. Please keep 
absolutely private at present, as certain supporters must be 
brought round to the new position. Please await second letter." 

That fight was won, though Shackleton believed that by 
altering his plans he not only reduced his chance of getting to 
the Pole, but introduced the necessity for a larger and more 
costly ship than the funds in sight could afford. Nevertheless 


out of respect for his old leader he wrote to Captain Scott 
agreeing to abandon his intention of making M'Murdo Sound, 
or the Barrier west of 170° W., a base for his attempt on the 
Pole, which he decided to approach from King Edward Land. 

The ground thus cleared, Shackleton proceeded to select 
his companions. He was determined to be hampered by no 
committee or external authority of any kind ; the whole 
responsibility rested with himself. Yet he sought advice 
from all experienced persons ; he saw much of Dr. Nansen, 
who w£Ls then the Norwegian Minister in London ; he met 
Roald Amundsen just returned from the first voyage through 
the North-West Passage; he took counsel with all who had 
experience in the outfitting of expeditions with gear and clothes 
and food, and he consulted the men of science most skilled in 
all the branches of knowledge which his expedition was likely 
to advance. He kept the promise made to Lieutenant J. B. 
Adams, R.N.R., at Queensferry a year before, and appointed him 
as meteorologist ; and from the crowd of volunteers ultimately 
selected Mr. Raymond Priestley as geologist ; Sir Philip Brockle- 
hurst, Bt., who contributed to the expenses of the expedition, 
as junior geologist ; Mr. James Murray, who had been assisting 
Sir John Murray in his survey of the Scottish lochs, as biologist ; 
Dr. E. Marshall and Dr. A. F. Mackay as surgeons, the former 
acting also as cartographer, the latter as zoologist ; Mr. G. E. 
Marston as artist ; two old Discovery sailors, Petty Officer Ernest 
Joyce and Frank Wild, for positions of general utility ; and a 
reinforcement of scientific men was expected from Australia. 

An office in London was secured at 9 Regent Street, Waterloo 
Place, and a manager was appointed. With him Shackleton paid 
a short visit to Norway in the end of April to purchase sledges, 
furs for boots and mittens, sleeping bags of reindeer skin, ski and 
similar equipment for which Norwegian firms were the best in 
the world. In Norway he inspected a polar ship, the Bjorn, 
which had just been built, a fine vessel of 700 tons with powerful 
triple-expansion engines, the very ideal vessel for his purpose, 
for her strength and speed would afford the best chance of 
reaching the hitherto inaccessible base which his loyalty to 
the wishes of his old commander had led him to select for his 

SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 109 

expedition. The price was necessarily high, and as the funds 
were small, Shackleton had no alternative but to shoulder the 
burden of looking for some cheap old craft. 

He heard of one in Newfoundland, a sealer of little more 
than 200 tons net, built in Norway, which for forty years had 
been justifying her name of Nimrod by hunting seals in the 
Arctic Seas. An agent in Newfoundland was instructed to 
inspect and survey her, and the report being satisfactory, she 
was bought in May, and on 15th June she appeared in the 
Thames, an ice-worn hull, rigged as a schooner with an engine 
incapable of driving her at more than six knots, and filthy holds 
stinking of generations of putrefying seal-oil. Shackleton had 
ever5^hing arranged for reconditioning her. He knew the 
hull to be sound and fit to battle with ice and storms, and it 
was not long before the skilled hands in Green's famous ship- 
yard at Blackwall had made her all that his foresight pictured 
her. The old masts and rigging were cleared out ; the holds 
scraped and cleansed, new accommodation for the scientific 
staff contrived out of part of the after-hold, and three new 
masts set up, altering her rig from a schooner to a barquentine. 

Meanwhile the Shackletons had left Edinburgh for the time 
and took a furnished house for a month or two at Palace Court, 
Bayswater Road. From his Regent Street of&ce Shackleton 
controlled an immense organization. He had agents in 
Manchuria buying ponies and arranging for their shipment 
to New Zealand ; agents in New Zealand buying dogs in Stewart 
Island, descended from those of Borchgrevink's expedition of 
ten years before ; agents in Australia arranging for scientific 
reinforcements ; agents in Norway seeing after the equipment, 
while he himself was everywhere in England ordering, selecting, 
inspecting food-stuffs, seeing to the building of the hut which 
was to be taken out in sections to form the winter quarters of 
the expedition ; watching experiments with motor-cars, settling 
difiiculties with the staff, engaging new men, arranging for 
officers and crew for the ship. He was always increasing the 
number of the " seventy-odd rich men " whose firm hand on 
their money-bags would have strangled the enterprise of a 
man who lived more in the world of facts and less in those 


regions of the imagination where Shackleton, though still only 
a beggar preparing to plunge, saw himself surely rising as a 

By the beginning of July the preparations were well ad- 
vanced ; the Admiralty and the Royal Geographical Society 
provided charts and instruments for navigation and magnetic 
work, many prominent firms made contributions in kind, and 
an exhibition of the equipment was held at 9 Regent Street, 
where a constant stream of visitors inspected sledges, tents, 
clothing, cooking apparatus, foods, and instruments. A special 
feature was the large supply of dried milk taken, and the plasmon 
biscuits for sledge journeys. Shackleton's long experience in 
handling stores and stowing cargo led him to make one innova- 
tion which proved to be of great utility. Instead of packing 
each commodity in the usual boxes familiar to the various 
trades concerned, he designed a packing-case of " venesta " 
boards. This material is a composite board made up of 
three very thin layers cemented together. It is very light, 
very strong and weather-proof, and 2500 cases were made of 
the uniform dimensions 30 inches by 15. They packed close 
for stowing, and when emptied the boxes were useful for 
building partitions in the hut and for many other purposes. 
As compared with ordinary boxes, they ensured a saving 
in weight of more than 4 tons, so allowing additional stores 
to that amount to be carried. Everything was got ready in 
an incredibly short time, and on 30th July the Nimrod, with 
all her cargo on board, steamed down the Thames. 

After the ship had started a message was received from the 
King intimating his intention of inspecting the vessel at Cowes, 
and she was brought into the Solent. Here, on 4th August, 
edmost exactly six years after the Discovery had received a like 
honour, the Nimrod was visited by King Edward and Queen 
Alexandra, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, Princess 
Victoria, Prince Edward, and the Duke of Connaught. The 
visit was as informal and heartening as that of 1901, and to 
complete the resemblance His Majesty invested the leader 
with the 4th class of the Victorian Order, while Queen Alexandra 
presented a Union Jack to be hoisted at the farthest south — 

SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 111 

at the Pole itself, Shackleton confidently believed, as he proudly 
accepted it. 

On her way down Channel the Nimrod called in at Torquay, 
where the Shackletons were residing at the time ; and on 
7th August the ship started on her three and a half months' 
voyage to New Zealand, under the command of Captain R. G. 
England, who had been first ofiicer of the Morning, with John 
King Davis, ^neas A. Mackintosh, and A. E. Harbord as sub- 
ordinate ofiicers. Some of the scientific staff sailed with the 
ship ; but there was much organizing work still to be done 
by the leader in England. 

In the September issue of the Geographical Journal 
Shackleton for the first time made a formal announcement 
of the change of plan arrived at in the spring in deference to 
Captain Scott, although, as the latter was not yet ready to 
publish his own plans, no reason for the change could be given. 
It was simply stated that the base of the expedition would be 
in King Edward Land instead of being at the old winter 
quarters of the Discovery ; that three exploring parties were to 
be sent out from the base, one due south towards the Pole, one 
south-eastward to explore King Edward Land, and one east- 
ward, along the coast of that region, all three leading into parts 
of the Antarctic which were totally unknown. 

Shackleton had nearly two months of exhausting work at 
home completing the scientific staff, hurrying up delayed 
equipment, smoothing out hitches in the preparations all over 
the world, and making arrangements with publishers, news- 
papers, and lecture agents for the publication of the results of 
the expedition on his return. If successful he was confident 
of funds enough to pay off all expenses and leave a substantial 
balance on which he and his family could live in affluence ever 
after. Through all the rush of the final weeks he was harassed 
by other cares, but at last the time came for his departure. 
On the last day of October he left England, his last sight being 
the figure of his wife as she stood watching on Dover Pier. 
Her image remained with him on his rush through France 
and on all the voyage through the Mediterranean and the Red 
Sea as it had done on the Flintshire ten years before."^ And 


as in all his leave-takings, he suffered from home-sickness. He 
wrote to his wife : 

" Honestly and truly, parting from you was the worst heart- 
aching moment of my life. If I failed to get to the Pole and 
was within lo miles and had to turn back it would or will 
not mean so much sadness as was compressed into those few 

And again : 

" I can never, never put into words all you meant to me 
that day standing on Dover Pier, and all it has meant to me 
ever since ... for you care for me to the height of letting 
me go to fulfil my destiny." 

But, as ten years before, he did not let others see him as 
a sentimental dreamer. He took his part in the social life on 
board the India, where he met a new friend, Mr. Sydney 
Lysaght, as a fellow-passenger. He lectured on his expedition 
to the gratification of all who heard him, and when he landed 
in Melbourne, in time to give a great pubUc lecture on 3rd 
December, he had recovered from his fatigue and was ready to 
face the crowded weeks that followed. 

He spoke to a large audience in Sydney on the 6th, met 
Professor Edgeworth David, who was to accompany him to King 
Edward Land as an adviser in geology, and return with the 
Nimrod, and Douglas Mawson, who was joining the expedition 
as a physicist. Then a few days of rest in the crossing to 
Wellington, and more lectures there and at Christchurch ; all 
of them largely attended and each bringing in several hundred 
pounds. This money was greatly needed for the expedition, 
but with his usual quixotic generosity, Shackleton devoted all 
the proceeds to local charities. No wonder that when, on the 
last day of the year all was ready, he found the whole Common- 
wealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand roused 
to enthusiasm ; the governments made generous contributions 
to his funds, the warm-hearted people overwhelmed him with 
contributions in kind, and he responded to it all like the war- 
horse smelling battle from afar. It was indeed a year to look 

SHACKLETON ASPIRES. 1906-1907 113 

back upon with pride ; from the beginning of January, when 
his plans were first unfolded in Scotland, to the end of December, 
when his ship lay deeply loaded in Lyttelton Harbour, his 
companions gathered around him, dogs and ponies brought 
from the ends of the Earth, and all the units of the expedition 
assembled at the appointed date, none lacking, all efficient 
and everything called into being by the dominance of his own 
individual will. But he could not do impossibihties ; stow as 
closely as he could, the little ship could not take the full equip- 
ment, and because of the lack of money to buy the Bjorn he 
had to leave behind several of the ponies and much of the 
material which, as the event proved, might have made all the 
difference and carried him through to the Pole. 

No one whose ambitions have not been defeated by lack of 
money at the critical moment when the hour and the man are 
ready for great deeds, can realize to the full the bitter irony of 
the distribution of wealth in hands whose controlling head, with 
all its powers of acquisition, lacks the divine instincts of insight 
and generosity ; but Shackleton was not the man to cloud his 
gratitude to those who helped by any such reflections. 


" We live in deeds, not years ; in thoughts, not breaths ; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial. 
We should count time by heart-throbs." 

P. J. Bailey. 

THE little Nimrod had proved herself a stout ship on the 
voyage out from England ; but she was slow under 
steam and made very poor progress under sail. It 
was necessary to economize the small stock of coal she could 
carry, and Shackleton decided that she must be towed all the 
way to the Antarctic Circle. The New Zealand Government 
contributed half the cost of the tow, and Sir James Mills, 
chairman of the Union Steamship Company, made up the rest. 
The idea was a daring one, for never before had any one at- 
tempted to tow a vessel hundreds of miles away from port in 
the stormiest part of the Southern Ocean. To a yoimg people 
the unprecedented always appeals, and all New Zealand warmed 
to the adventure. The vessel appointed for the task was the 
Koonya, a steel steamer of over looo tons, under the command 
of Captain F. P. Evans. 

On New Year's Day 1908 the expedition received a great 
send-off from Lyttelton Harbour, and Shackleton found himself 
at last on the deck of his own ship with all the worries of his 
year of scheming, begging, and bargaining behind him and a 
bright prospect ahead. The Nimrod was terribly overcrowded 
with her own company and the landing party, and Professor 
David, the patriarch of the crowd — he was in his fiftieth year 
— ^as a passenger to the Barrier. Nevertheless another passenger 
was squeezed in, a keen yachtsman, Mr. George Buckley, who, 
after doing a great deal for the expedition in New Zealand, 

THE NIMBOD. 1908 115 

could not resist the temptation of a run to the Antarctic Circle, 
and made up his mind to go just two hours before the start. 
The Nimrod was towed by a long steel rope shackled on to her 
two chain cables, which were run out one on each side of the 
bow, almost to their full length, thus lightening the bow of 
the ship and forming a sort of shock-absorber for the jerks of 
the tow-rope. 

The sea was not kind, and very soon the waves were 
breaking over the Nimrod' s forecastle, deluging the ten-stalled 
stable in which the ponies were tethered, and the nine dogs 
which were chained out of reach of each other wherever space 
could be found. On the fourth day a carrier pigeon was re- 
leased, carrying a message to New Zealand ; and as the day 
went on the storm increased, the ship rolling fifty degrees on 
each side of the perpendicular, so that it was almost impossible 
to walk along the deck. For ten days a gale blew, rising 
sometimes to such terrific force that the Koonya had to stop, 
and both ships were laid to, wallowing in the tremendous seas. 
The scientific staff were organized into a stable-watch, and 
never for a moment, night or day, were the ponies left un- 
tended, all efforts being made to keep them on their legs. One 
poor beast fell in its narrow stall, and was turned over on its 
back by a roll of the ship. Efforts to get it round again were 
unavailing, and at last it had to be shot. The bulwarks were 
smashed by a great wave, and some damage done on deck. 
Cooking was almost impossible, and there was not a dry spot 
on the ship, nor for a fortnight could any one have dry clothes 
or a dry bed. Through it all the Koonya forced her way 
southwards, and on the 13th the wind abated, and at last it 
was possible to sort things up a bit. 

Next day the first iceberg was sighted, and on 14th January 
the Antarctic Circle was reached, and here in perpetual daylight 
the long tow of 1500 miles ended. A number of sheep had 
been carried on the Koonya, and these were now slaughtered 
and the carcases hauled on board the Nimrod by means of a 
rope. The first hcdf of the consignment arrived safely, but the 
second lot was lost through the parting of the rope between the 
tossing ships. 


Before leaving New Zealand Shackleton had been swom- 
in as a postmaster, and supplied by the New Zealand Govern- 
ment with a special issue of stamps for use on the expedition 
while in the Antarctic. These were the ordinary red penny 
stamp of New Zealand overprinted in green with the words 
" King Edward vii. Land," and there was a complete postal 
equipment of dating stamps, registered letter labels, and the 
proper books for keeping an account of Post Office business. 
The stamps were a genuine issue, and now have considerable 
philatelic value. The total number of stamps printed was 
24,000 of the face value of £100, and they were all carried 
on the expedition, with the exception of 448 supplied to the 
offices of the Universal Postal Union, and 60 retained as a 
specimen sheet by the New Zealand Government. These 
stamps were first used for the mail carried by Captain England 
to the Koonya, when he put Mr. Buckley on board that vessel 
to return to New Zealand on 15th January 1908. Captain 
F. P. Evans deserves the greatest credit for the splendid feat 
of towing the Nitnrod safely through terrible weather, and for 
bringing his ship to the Antarctic Circle, which she was the 
first steel-built vessel to cross. 

The Nitnrod was now alone under her own steam with a 
heavy task before her, and at first she enjoyed the best of good 
luck, for she steamed through a labyrinth of huge floating ice- 
bergs without difficulty or delay, and entered the ice-free waters 
of Ross Sea without meeting any pack-ice at all. Every 
previous expedition had been held up for from one to six weeks 
by heavy pack-ice, through which it was very hard to force a 
way. On 23rd January the Great Ice Barrier was sighted in 
longitude 172° W. : it had never been reached before in such 
a short time by any expedition. To most of those on board 
the sight was new, and as the great ice cUffs grew to their full 
majesty as the little ship ran up close to them, the stupendous 
magnitude of the Antarctic rose upon their minds, for this 
was but a point on the edge of that three-hundred-mile-long 
floating wall, which bounded unknown hundreds of miles 
of nearly level surface stretching perhaps to the Pole itself, 
or even right across to the Weddell Sea. It was the period 

IK#«'^*- » '^ *»&»;>. 


THE NIMROD. 1908 117 

of exhilaration in the psychology of polar travel when the 
heart of the explorer rejoices in the calm weather after stormy 
weeks, in the unsetting sun, the unbroken blue of sky and sea, 
and the white Barrier veiling the field where glorious deeds 
were about to be done. 

Shackleton had in an exceptional degree the happy power 
of delegating responsibility and of refraining from interference 
when he had done so, though ever watchful to resume control 
should his helpers break down. On the way south he had been 
occupied mainly in the study of the land party, now brought 
together for the first time. The conditions were such as to 
reveal any bodily or temperamental weakness that might exist. 
He soon found that there was a tendency for groups to be 
formed, the Australians, for instance, holding together on the 
one side and the English members on the other, although the 
genial personality of Professor David did much to draw all 
together. Shackleton would not have hesitated to send back 
any man who developed ill-natured qualities ; but he found them 
all good, noting merely the friendships that sprang up, or became 
obvious, so that he could group them into congenial parties. 

From the longitude at which they had reached the Barrier 
Shackleton knew that he was close to the inlet where Borchgre- 
vink had landed, and where the Discovery had lain alongside 
the low ice-wall to send her balloon ashore ; but the ice cliffs 
now were high and changed. Slowly it was borne in upon 
him that a tremendous change had taken place ; miles of the 
old Barrier front had been broken away to a depth of many 
hundreds of yards ; and, in place of the inlet in which the 
Discovery had lain so snugly, there was now a great wide bay, 
a very playground of whales, which were spouting on all sides. 
Shackleton called it the Bay of Whales. It was here that he 
had decided to make his winter quarters had it retained its 
old outline ; but now he felt that it would not be a reasonable 
risk to establish his party on the floating Barrier, which he 
foresaw might quite possibly break away again and drift 
with the whole expedition to certain doom. But, even if he 
had resolved to take the risk of landing there, as Amundsen did 
four years later with complete success, he could not have done 


so. As the Nimrod was coasting the Barrier in clear water a 
line of pack-ice mixed with icebergs began to appear on the 
northern horizon, and a northerly breeze was driving the pack 
in on the Barrier, narrowing the track of clear water and 
threatening to fill the Bay of Whales with ice. 

He took an instant decision to abandon the attempt to land 
on the Barrier, for landing was not the matter of a moment, 
but a process requiring many laborious days of fine weather. 
Instead, he resolved to push on eastward to King Edward 
Land, where he hoped to find some spot within reach of solid 
ground where a winter base could be placed securely. The 
Nimrod got out of the Bay of Whales just in time, and set her 
course to work round the northern edge of the drifting pack, 
and so eastward towards the land. The motor-car, which had 
been unlashed and was standing on deck under the derrick 
ready to be swimg on to the ice, was made fast again, and the 
ship's company faced the new move in the highest spirits. 
But neither Shackleton nor England, on whom lay the burden 
of the safety of the expedition and of the ship, viewed the 
situation or the prospect with elation. Again and again they 
put the ship's head into some promising eastward lead, again 
and again they were forced northward to avoid besetment. 
The weather grew worse, fog came on, all prudence — ^and 
Captain England was essentially prudent — cried for a return 
westward ; but Shackleton, bound by his promise to avoid 
M'Murdo Sound, pressed on towards the inaccessible land, until 
the growing danger of the destruction of the expedition forced 
him to desist. " It must be part of my life," he wrote, " that I 
go on striving for the things that are out of reach." 

That the decision was no light matter, but one which counted 
in heart-throbs, meant an ageing beyond the power of years, 
is apparent from the letter to his wife, which he sat up all night 
writmg. It was dated 26th January 1908, and we quote the 
larger part : 

" What a difference a few short hours can make in one's 
life and work and destiny. I have been through a sort of Hell 
since the 23rd, and I cannot even now realize that I am on my 

THE NIMROD. 1908 119 

way back to M'Murdo Sound, and that all idea of wintering 
on the Barrier or at King Edward vii. Land is at an end ; that 
I have to break my word to Scott, and go back to the old 
base, and that all my plans and ideas have now to be changed, 
and changed by the overwhelming forces of Nature ... All 
the anxiety that I have been feeling coupled with the desire 
to really do the right thing has made me older than I can ever 
say. ... I must now write my heart out, and it is to you 
alone that I can do so, for I never, never knew what it was to 
make such a decision as the one I was forced to make last 
night. . . . You can realize what it has been to me to stand 
up on the bridge in those snow squalls and decide whether to 
go on or turn back, my whole heart crying out for me to go on ; 
and the feeling against, of the lives and families of the forty 
odd men on board. I swept away from my thoughts the question 
of the Pole, of the success of the expedition at that moment, 
though, in doing so I know now in my calmer moments that I 
was wrong even to do that ; that the money was given for me 
to reach the Pole, not to just play with, according to my ideas 
of right and wrong ; that I had a great public trust which I 
could not betray ; that in all ways my one line of action should 
have been the one I am taking now : but that was not what 
weighed with me then, and I feel that you will understand me 
in it all. . . . To the north close in the ofiing lay the heavy 
pack, and I saw no chance of going north and trying again 
from the northwards of the pack a way to the east. My heart 
was heavy within me, for here was a direct check to my plans ; 
if I had not promised Scott that I would not use " his " place, 
I would then have gone on to M'Murdo Soimd with a light heart ; 
but I had promised, and I felt each mile that I went to the 
west was a horror to me. I could see nothing for it but to go 
there, for after the fact became apparent that Balloon Inlet 
had gone, then obviously any idea of wintering on any other 
part or inlet of the Barrier would be suicidal and fraught with 
most serious danger, not only to the success of the expedition, 
but also to the lives of all the men whom I am responsible for. 
My promise was the one thing that weighed in the balance 
against my going back at once, and I gladly saw towards 
6 p.m. a loosening of the pack to the northward, and after a 
long talk with England, who put the seriousness of my position 
frankly before me by the attempt — ^the shortage of coal, which 
even then was only sufficient to ensure the arrival of the ship 
at New Zealand ; the strained condition of the vessel ; the fact 
that even if we eventually arrived at King Edward vii. Land 
I might not be able to find a safe place to discharge, and would 


probably have to abandon it in view of the enormous masses 
of land ice and hummocked-up pack that was breaking away, 
which would make the ship's position untenable ; my duty to 
the country and King, since I was given the flag for the Pole ; 
and lastly, but not least, my duty to all who entrusted them- 
selves to my keeping. I myself recognized the weight and 
truth of all he said, and I knew at the same time that he was 
heart and soul with me, and had no thought of his personal 
safety, indeed neither of us as we stood on the bridge the same 
morning thought of that, but of the safety of the laughing, 
careless crowd of men who little thought or dreamt what our 
feelings were as the ice was closing in, to them it was merely 
an interesting episode, and gave them an opportunity of a 
nearer view of seals and penguins. ... I was determined in 
my mind that if difficulties were increased, then all that was 
to be done in the circumstances was to increase the labour 
so that a successful conclusion should attend our efforts. 

I said to England that as regards the fuel question which 
was so urgent a one, that I was willing for him not only to 
bum all easily available woodwork on the ship, but also to bum 
the deck-house, cut away the mizzen-mast, burn it and the mam 
top-mast, anything at all that would further our object and 
gain time, so that I could carry out my personal promise to 
Scott, this weighed with me even more than I ought to have 
allowed it to when I come to think of it in calmer moments 
now ; but I felt that I could not turn back without trying 
from the northward a bit, so I told England that if I could 
not get east within forty-eight hours I would turn back to 
M'Murdo Sound as there was no other place I could go to and 
make the expedition a success. ... I realized that to push 
farther on then would be madness, we could not lie where we 
were on the chance of it clearing up, for it might be days and 
our precious stock of coal would dwindle away, the ship will 
not sail and must depend on coal alone, so with a heavy heart 
I gave orders for turning back. All that night from 8 p.m. 
when we tumed till midnight when we ran or rather thumped 
into a rising sea and had the pack to the north of us, and so 
has ended my hope of reaching King Edward vii. Land. My 
conscience is clear, but my heart is sore, and writing now I 
feel it as much ; but I have one comfort, that I did my best ; 
if I had gone back without risking and trying all I did, and if 
eventually I got the Pole from M'Murdo Sound base, it would 
have been ever tarnished and as ashes to me ; but now I have 
done my best, and if the whole world were to cry out at me, 
which I am sure they would not, even then I woiild not worry 

THE NIMROD. 1908 121 

myself, for I Imow in my own heart that I am right. ... I 
have now put down all that has been on my mind, and I know 
that you will know that I have done all that any man could 
have done under the circumstances." 

The battle had been fought out, and though the storm in 
Shackleton's mind had hardly subsided in the three days that 
brought the Nimrod to the base of Mt. Erebus, he put the past 
from him and threw his whole tremendous energy into safe- 
guarding the future. M'Murdo Sound was frozen over for 
more than 20 miles northward from the Discovery's winter 
quarters, and Shackleton waited for five days at the edge 
of the ice, hoping that it would break up and go out. An 
unhappy accident to Mackintosh, the second officer of the 
Nimrod, who was to have joined the land party, resulted in the 
loss of an eye and deprived the expedition of the services of a 
singularly active and fearless man. Captain England was 
fretting at the delay, and he had suffered more than any one 
else from the heavy strain of responsibility in difficult circum- 
stances. On 3rd February Shackleton changed his plans once 
more, abandoned the hope of reaching the old Discovery base, 
and commenced to land the stores at Cape Royds on Ross 
Island immediately under Mt. Erebus. A good site was found 
for the hut on a flat peninsula, and although there was still a 
broad stretch of sea-ice between the ship and the shore the 
landing began, stores being sledged across. The motor-car 
was got out on the ice, and after a time it did some useful work, 
though much could not be expected from it on sea-ice always 
liable to break up. The ponies were got ashore with difficulty, 
as they were in poor condition after their five weeks at sea. 
One was so bad that it had to be shot. 

Day by day the ice broke away more and more, and the 
ship came nearer in ; but as 180 tons had to be landed and 
carried, progress was slow, and when the hideous snow blizzards 
of the region descended on them the men had some bitter 
experiences in saving cases and ponies on the splitting and 
driving ice. All hands worked like heroes, the leader most of 
all, and if any had a touch of the slacker in him he dared not 


show it when Shackleton was in sight. During all that 
strenuous time Shackleton suppressed his own feelings ; he 
had a smile and a cheery word for all, and the impression 
which those days left on the men who served with him is 
well put in the feeling words of Dunlop, the engineer of the 
Nimrod in a private letter to a friend : "He is a marvellous 
man, and I would follow him anywhere." 

The extreme caution of Captain England in approaching the 
ice and his anxiety to take the ship to sea on any change of 
weather for the worse, were hampering the work of landing stores 
and reducing the coal supply by unnecessary steaming. The 
other officers were indignant but obeyed ; the shore party 
were less restrained in their opinions, and only Shackleton, 
who felt the delays most of all, upheld the authority of the 
captain, reprimanding one important member of the expedition 
who had made a disparaging remark about England in his 
hearing, and saying that he would not tolerate such language 
about his second in command . and would send any man who 
dared to repeat it home again in the Nimrod. More than 
once the captain's caution had threatened the safety of the 
wintering party, and most reluctantly Shackleton had been 
driven to the conclusion that England's health had suffered 
so seriously as to impair his usefulness. Still, he resolved to 
uphold the captain's authority imtil the ship reached New 
Zealand, and to leave it to Mr. J. J. Kinsey, the agent and friend 
of the expedition, to decide under what commander the Nimrod 
should be sent back the next year. On the critical question 
of the coal supply Shackleton had to exert all his powers of 
reason and persuasion, and even to appeal to his authority as 
leader of the expedition before England would abate his demand 
for 100 tons to be left in the bunkers in order to carry the ship 
back to port. The leader went, indeed, to the extreme limit of 
concession in reducing the amoimt to be landed for a year's 
supply for the winter hut from 30 tons, the quantity set out 
in the plans, to 18 tons ; but he did so and left 92 tons on board 
the Nimrod. This, as it happened, was 30 tons more than was 
required on the voyage to Lyttelton ; but then, as always, 
Shackleton took the greater risk for his own party. 

THE NIMROD. 1908 128 

Professor Edgeworth David had been persuaded to cast 
in his lot with the shore party, and proved to be not only a 
wise adviser on scientific matters, but a soothing influence 
whenever friction seemed about to appear between the young 
men. The vexatious delays, the incessant hard work, the want 
of sleep, and constant anxieties arising from sudden storms 
and the insidious growth of new ice, had brought the nerves of 
every one on shore and on board almost to the breaking point 
by the time that the last ton of coal was landed. Then, as 
the last boat got back to the ship and was hoisted in at lo p.m. 
on 22nd February, Shackleton and his fourteen companions 
bade farewell to the Nimrod : she proceeded on her way to 
warmth and safety, they turned to the chilly task of setting 
their house in order and preparing for their great adventure. 

Shackleton was fortunately unaware of an incident which 
followed the return of the ship to Lyttelton. Some discontented 
or mischievous member of the crew seems to have spun a yam 
to a too credulous reporter, as the result of which a newspaper 
published a story of an altercation between the leader and the 
captain which it was alleged ended in a struggle. Captain 
England immediately pubhshed an emphatic denial, and all 
the officers and most of the crew signed a letter to Mrs. 
Shackleton expressing their disgust at the false report and their 
experience of the constant courtesy and consideration of their 

The sketch map on p. 124 shows the track of the Nimrod 
from the Antarctic Circle to and from Cape Royds. It also 
shows the route of the Southern journey described in the 
following chapter, and that of Professor David's journey to the 
Magnetic Pole. 

Routes of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, showing 

Shackleton's Farthest South. 


" Yes, they're wanting me, they're haunting me, the awful lonely places ; 
They're whining and they're whimpering, as if each had a soul ; 
They're calling from the wilderness, the vast and god-like spaces. 
The stark and sullen solitudes that sentinel the Pole." 

R. W. Service. 

WHEN the Nimrod passed out of sight to the north, 
Shackleton was left beside a half -finished hut, sur- 
rounded by scattered heaps of stores buried beneath 
mounds of frozen snow, and somewhere out of sight a whale- 
boat which had been landed from the ship and snowed over. 
With him were fourteen companions who did not yet fully 
know their leader, and his chivalrous support of the captain's 
authority afloat had brought him nearer to unpopularity with 
his own men than he ever was before — or since. The land party 
was a group of curiously diverse types, their closest resemblance 
being in their common love of adventure and desire to penetrate 
the unknown. They came from all stations in life and repre- 
sented all grades of education. 

Roberts had been a cook in the merchant service, Joyce 
and Wild sailors in the Royal Navy, Adams a merchant service 
and Naval Reserve officer, and Mackay a surgeon in the Royal 
Navy. These with Shackleton himself made six whose career 
had been on the sea. Day had been a motor engineer in, 
England ; Marston, a student of the Regent Street Polj^echnic, 
was a certificated art teacher, and Priestley had been studying 
geology at Bristol University College. James Murray was a 
self-taught genius in biology, a man of the rugged Scottish 
peasant class more thoroughly instructed but in some ways 
not unlike Thomas Edwards the naturalist, whose life had 


beguiled one of Shackleton's earlier voyages. If we count 
Mackay, who had studied medicine at Edinburgh University, 
over again, there were six University men. Of these Brockle- 
hurst, Armytage, and Marshall were Cambridge men, David 
was an Oxford man by education though Professor of Geology 
in Sydney N.S.W. and Mawson was a graduate and lecturer of 
Adelaide University. 

As the months went on they all grew to know each other, 
and they formed a devoted attachment to their leader, whose 
judgment and foresight in choosing them were well justified. 
They found before long that the quality which made Shackleton 
in their opinion too tolerant of the ultra-cautiousness of his 
second in command afloat, moved him to give each of them a j 
free hand in the pursuit of his special branch of study or allotted I 
duty, and that he never asked them to do harder or more | 
dangerous or disagreeable work than he was prepared to do ^ 

By the end of February they had secured nearly all the i 
stores, dumped here and there on the coast round the hut at j 
Cape Royds, at the nearest points to where they had been landed j 
on the ice. This was a difficult task, for during the blizzards 
the scattered cases had been drifted under snow which partly 
thawed and then froze, so that each case had to be broken out 
with ice-axes, the job resembling on a large scale the picking 
out of whole almonds from almond rock by means of a knife. 

The hut, which had no windows, was divided into eight 
cubicles, four on each side with a narrow open space be- 
tween. One of these was the leader's cabin, each of the 
others had spaces for two bunks, in the fitting-up and decora- 
tion of which the occupants were left to follow their fancy. 
It was well on in March before complete order had been 
reached and the regular routine of life established. The 
acetylene gas-plant had been got to work, and never before 
had a polar habitation been so splendidly illuminated. The 
narrow floor-space was economized by the device of hoisting 
the long table used for meals up to the roof so as to allow room 
for work on sledges or harness, or any of the innumerable 
efforts at construction or repair that were constantly in hand. 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 127 

Before the light went, more than a hundred penguins were 
killed and stacked up to freeze as fresh food for the winter, 
and the pony stables and dog-kennels were made as comfortable 
for their occupants as ingenuity could suggest. 

The geographical position of the winter quarters should be 
clearly imderstood by the reader in order to allow the events 
of the various journeys to be followed. Ross Island may be 
pictured as a triangle each side of which measures over 40 miles. 
One side runs north and south. Cape Bird being its northern 
extremity and Cape Armitage its southern. This forms the 
eastern side of M'Murdo Sound, which is about 40 miles wide 
and is bounded on the west by the mountainous coast of Victoria 
Land. Nearly half-way between Cape Bird and Cape Armitage 
a little flat peninsula tipped by Cape Royds projects into the 
sound under the steep slopes which rise to the summit of Mt. 
Erebus. Here Shackleton had established his winter quarters 
almost exactly in latitude 77° 30' S. and in longitude 166° E. 
About 10 miles south of Cape Royds a group of islands, named 
the Dellbridge Islands, lies off the coast, the islands in order 
southwards being Inaccessible, Tent, Small Razorback, and 
Large Razorback. These all lie in a bay formed on the 
south by the projection from the land of a great tongue of ice 
5 miles long, tapering from about a mile wide at the base to a 
fine point : this extraordinary structure, which must be afloat 
for the greater part of its length, is known as Glacier Tongue. 
It is 14 miles from Cape Royds, and for 9 miles farther south 
Ross Island runs in a long narrow peninsula terminated by 
Cape Armitage. Half a mile north of Cape Armitage on the 
west side is Hut Point, with the hut of the National Antarctic 
Expedition at the Discovery's winter quarters ; and on the east 
side of the peninsula, about a mile north of Cape Armitage, is 
Pram Point. The whole west coast of Ross Island, from Cape 
Bird to Cape Armitage, is so precipitous or so covered with 
glaciers, ending in ice cliffs, that it is impossible for a sledge- 
party to travel along it, and very dangerous for an unloaded 
explorer to make the journey on foot. When M'Murdo Soimd 
is frozen over the sea-ice forms a good thoroughfare along the 
coast to the south ; at other times there is no passage except 


by sea. The surface of the Ice Barrier is usually found nearly 
in 78° S., and is attached to the land about Pram Point. The 
whole southern side of Ross Island from Pram Point to Cape 
Crozier is wedged firmly into the Barrier, and the north-eastern 
side from Cape Crozier to Cape Bird is open to the waves of the 
Ross Sea for the greater part of the year. The extinct volcano, 
Mt. Terror, rises to a height of 10,750 feet in the eastern corner 
of Ross Island, and the summit of the active volcano, Mt. 
Erebus, rises just behind Cape Royds to the height of practically 
13,000 feet, sloping steeply on all sides. 

Shackleton was intensely anxious to send out autumn 
sledging parties to lay out depots of provisions on the Barrier 
to assist the great journey to the South Pole, on which he had 
set his heart as the central ideal of his life ; but the Nimrod 
had hardly gone before the ice on the Sound, the presence of 
which had compelled him to make his base so far north, broke up 
and was blown out to sea, thus breaking the road to the south. 
His sanguine nature rushed to the beUef that early spring 
sledging would enable him to lay out depots enough to help 
him to the Pole, for nothing broke his happy optimism, yet 
the truth is that the date of the opening of M'Murdo Sound 
in 1908 had practically destroyed his chance of success. Had 
the ice gone out a month earher he would have landed at 
Hut Point, two days' journey nearer the Pole, with both 
autumn and spring available for depot laying ; had its 
break-up been delayed by a few weeks he would have had at 
least one large depot laid out in the autumn, and the extra 
food it contained might have turned partial into complete 
success. In prosperity, Shackleton was somewhat hasty and 
impetuous, in times of difficulty an amazing patience welled 
up from the depths of his nature, but only the call of heavy 
stress could set it free. 

He could see only one important piece of exploration 
possible before the sun disappeared, and the credit of making 
it he left to Professor David, contenting himself with the less 
exciting, but no less important task of getting the winter 
quarters into order. The expedition was to attempt the ascent 
of Mt. Erebus, a first-class moimtaineering feat, the summit 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 129 

being looo feet higher above sea-level, from which the climbers 
had to start, than Mont Blanc is above Chamonix, and, 
moreover, it is an active volcano. The summit party consisted 
of David, Mawson, and Mackay, and a supporting party of 
Adams, Marshall, and Brocklehurst was to accompany them 
as far as Adams thought advisable. The main party carried 
provisions for ten days, the supporting party for six. They 
set out on 5th March, and on the loth they returned triumph- 
antly, all six having got to the summit in four days and returned 
in less than one. A severe blizzard had been encountered 
near the summit, and Brocklehurst had his feet badly frost- 
bitten ; but otherwise the exploit had been a brilliant success. 
The summit of the active cone was found to be 13,370 feet 
above the sea. 

The winter routine was now established. The geologists 
pursued their studies on the cliffs and amongst the boulders 
in the neighbourhood of the hut, and here the biologists also 
found plenty to do in the small freshwater lakes teeming with 
microscopic forms of life. Even when the water was frozen 
solid it was possible to make collections by digging shafts 
through the ice to the lake-bed. The meteorological observa- 
tions kept Adams busy, and Mawson was able to carry out 
physical observations on the ice and on magnetism and auroras. 
Much attention had to be given to exercising and training the 
ponies and dogs, the number of the latter increasing by several 
litters of puppies ; but, unfortunately, the ponies did not thrive, 
and several died during the winter from their incurable habit 
of eating sand. 

Inside the hut there was always one member of the party, 
in rotation, on duty during the day as messman, looking after 
the housework and responsible for keeping things fairly tidy ; 
another, also in rotation, acted as night-watchman, keeping 
awake to tend the fire and rouse his companions in the morning. 
The cook was hard at it all day, for there was no restriction on 
the food supply, and Antarctic appetites fully justified their 
gargantuan reputation. 

Among the lighter occupations was the preparation of a 
book, Aurora Australis, set up and printed in the hut, with 


lithograph and process illustrations, also produced on the 
premises, printed on a hand-press and bound in venesta boards 
from the packing cases. A hundred copies were printed, but 
none for sale, and the work is already a rarity for bibliophiles, 
both on account of the beauty of its typography and because 
no other printed book has ever been produced on the poleward 
side of latitude 70°. 

A drawback to the general happiness of the wintering party 
came in the form of Brocklehurst's illness. His frost-bites did 
not yield readily to treatment, and when it was found necessary 
to amputate one of his toes, Shackleton gave up his cabin to 
him and for two months shared with Armytage the cubicle 
which was the invalid's usual retreat. As the long winter night 
went on, the party became a band of brothers, and the Boss, 
as Shackleton came to be called, gradually acquired an ascend- 
ancy which owed nothing to authority, but was founded on 
friendship and respect . Priestley says of him : 

" In the long winter months, when the scientists toiled in 
darkness and cold at their routine tasks outside, the help and 
company of our leader might always be relied upon. He was 
equally at home exercising ponies, digging trenches for the 
examination of lake or sea-ice, collecting geological specimens, 
taking the place of an ailing biologist at the dredging line, 
assisting at a trial run of the motor-car, or breaking in a team 
of dogs. In the evenings he would retire to his cabin and busy 
himself writing up his diary, preparing plans for the spring 
and summer journeys, or writing or reading the poetry which 
he loved and which he could recite from memory for hours on 
end. Any jest or argument of unusual interest was sure to 
draw " the Boss " from his cabin ; and when every one else had 
retired to bed, the night-watchman was never surprised when 
Shackleton joined him for a half -hour's chat or to smoke a 
cigarette in the small hours before himself turning in. He 
was a sociable man and liked company, and was always the life 
and soul of any group in which he happened to be." 

There was no terror of great darkness that winter, nor any 
depression of spirits in the crowded hut. All the men were 
well and jolly, always busy and full of hope. 

From midwinter day, 21st June, onwards Shackleton's 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 181 

whole life was concentrated on the forthcoming southern 
journey. In the darkness, dimly lit by the aurora, the call 
of the solitudes of the icy continent sounded in his ears, whis- 
pering to him in the starlit calms, howling for him in the blizzards, 
always assuring him that he was the man destined from birth 
to the fame of the discovery of the Pole. He recognized clearly 
from his experience on the National Antarctic Expedition and 
from reading that the key of success was transport. The old 
terror of cold so severe as to extinguish life, and of ice-walls 
or gulfs so prodigious as to be impassable, had long been laid. 
So far as geographical knowledge went, it was reasonable to 
expect that either the Barrier surface, some 150 feet above sea- 
level, led straight to the Pole, or that if the great mountain chain 
of Victoria Land swung eastward across the path, some glacier 
would be found leading to a plateau with as smooth a surface 
as the Barrier, though some thousands of feet above the sea» 
In either case success depended on being able to carry enough 
food and fuel to last a party for the journey of 750 geographical 
miles to the Pole and 750 back, a total of 1500 geographical or 
1730 statute miles. 

As a ship must leave the vicinity of M'Murdo Sound not 
much later than the end of February if she is to get away at all, 
and as the conditions of travelling over the ice are too severe 
before the end of October, it follows that four months is the 
extreme limit of time that can be calculated on for the double 
journey ; and if every day in that period were fit to travel on, the 
conditions governing success are that food for 120 days can 
be carried, and that an average speed of 12J geographical or 14J 
statute miles per day can be kept up. As regards food nothing 
can be left to chance, for the interior of Antarctica is absolutely 
barren of life ; but, on the other hand, there is the advantage 
as compared with an arid desert or a sea voyage, that no water 
need be taken, for snow or ice is always present and can be 
turned into water as long as fuel is available. Economy in trans- 
port can only be secured by a system of depots laid out in 
advance to help the outward journey, or dropped by the way 
to relieve weights and provide for the return. This is a danger- 
ous method, as the existence of the travelling party must depend 


on picking up the depot on a featureless waste before the food in 
hand is exhausted. As regards time, something may be gained 
if the weather chances to be fine by making a start a few days 
earHer than it is reasonable to anticipate ; something may be 
gained on the return journey, if the food supply permits, by 
overstaying the date for the prudent departure of the ship in 
the hope that circumstances may allow her to wait longer, or 
that she has left behind at the base supplies to carry the party 
through another winter. Should bad weather cause a day's 
delay at any time, the loss must be made up by longer marches 
on the good days ; should serious illness or accident befall any 
member on the outward journey, success would be barely con- 
ceivable ; if on the homeward journey, when depots must be 
picked up at given dates, disaster would be certain. At every 
point the chances are against success, for the risks are manifold, 
and any one of them might in a moment end all. A slip on a 
critical ice-slope, the break-down of a cooker, the loss of a sledge, 
a slight defect in the sledge-harness or in the alpine rope when 
a traveller falls into a crevasse, the death of the ponies, a week's 
blizzard, any of these might make the whole effort vain. 

Such were the thoughts that filled Shackleton's mind during 
the dark months, such were the bases of the calculations he 
made, the plans he worked out ; and at every report of the 
illness or death of a pony, all had to be recomputed. A weaker 
man would have wasted his strength and whittled down his 
chances by giving way to worry, but Shackleton had sublime 
confidence in himself and his arrangements. He took every 
possible precaution, the food was carefully chosen, carefully 
packed, the camp routine worked out to the last detail, and, 
conscious that he was doing all a man could do, he remained 
not only tranquil but happy. Priestley says, " Shackleton's 
faith in his own star never wavered. His optimism and en- 
thusiasm infected his whole following, and went far to make 
men able to carry on to the very limits of their strength." 

On I2th August, ten days before the return of the sim would 
mark the beginning of the season which it sounds ironic to call 
the Antarctic Spring, Shackleton set out with David and Army- 
tage on the first preliminary sledging trip, hauling their own 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 138 

sledge, as since only four ponies had survived the winter, it was 
considered an unreasonable risk to work them before the main 
journey. They set out on the sea -ice, camped for the first night 
near Glacier Tongue, and for the next night a few miles from 
Hut Point. 

In the dim twilight of the noontide hours on the 14th, 
Shackleton led his companions over the old familiar places 
of the Discovery time, to Crater Hill where he used to have his 
daily walks with Wilson, to the level stretch where he had tried 
to sail the rum-cart with Bame, to the places where he had 
helped Hodgson to drag his dredge. Everything was unaltered ; 
the old hut stood big and bare, the stove gone, and the contents 
in confusion as they had been left, mixed with snow that had 
filtered in. 

Next day they ascended to the Barrier surface, which 
stood only 8 feet above the sea-ice, and marched south for 
12 miles, camping that night in a temperature below - 56° F., 
cold so extreme that the paraffin used for heating the cooker 
was of the consistency of cream. In this extreme cold, sleep 
was impossible, and as the weather turned threatening, a hasty 
retreat was made next day to Hut Point. Here they were kept 
prisoners by a blizzard for several days, and they passed the 
time putting the hut in order and building with the cases of 
provisions an inner hut, occupying 20 feet by 10 of floor space, 
within which later parties could camp in comfort. On 22nd 
August they made a fine march of 23 miles to Cape Royds in 
the one day in spite of adverse weather. 

From this time on a party was sent out weekly to Hut Point 
with stores for the southern journey. This afforded the men 
excellent training in sledging and camping, and it taught them 
self-reliance, as the party was not always under an experienced 
leader. They had often a rough time, as the temperature was 
very low and blizzards were frequent. The motor-car had been 
brought into action and did good work in hauling sledges on 
the sea-ice when free from snow. Once with three men it did 
as much work in one day as six men could have done in two 
or three days. But the car was useless in snow, and no attempt 
was made to get it on to the Barrier. 


The main depot journey began on 22nd September, when 
Shackleton, with Adams, Marshall, Joyce, Wild, and Marston, 
set out after saying good-bye to David, Mawson, and Mackay, 
who were starting in a few days for the Magnetic Pole. The 
motor towed their sledges at 6 miles per hour as far as Inacces- 
sible Island ; beyond that they hauled, three men to a sledge. 
On 6th October they reached 79° 36' S. and made Depot A 
there, 100 miles south of Hut Point. All that was left in it was 
a gallon of paraffin and 167 lbs. of pony maize. Shackleton did 
not consider it safe to leave there anything that was vital to 
the expedition, as he was not confident of picking up the depot 
should bad weather set in. The six got back to Cape Royds 
after covering 320 statute miles in 15J days of actual matching, 
an average of 20 miles per day, which augured well for the 
attack on the Pole. 

The summer work had been planned for the two great journeys 
to the geographical and the magnetic poles. The design of a 
journey to King Edward Land had to be abandoned as half 
the ponies had died, and to have divided the four survivors 
between two expeditions would have secured the failure of both. 
A third geological party was arranged to the western moun- 
tains in connection with depot laying, to assist the return of 
the Magnetic Pole party. 

Shackleton had studied the ponies with the greatest care, 
and settled the maximum load which each could drag on a 
sledge. This allowed a maximum of ninety-two days* pro- 
visions for the four men who were required to manage the four 
ponies, so that if the Pole was to be reached on full rations, the 
daily journey must average 19 statute miles in actual advance. 
The original plan had contemplated six ponies and six men ; to 
have taken six men with the four ponies would have limited the 
radius of action, so with a sore heart the Boss had to decide which 
two of the appointed six were the least fit and so must remain 
behind. He felt it a grievous thing to disappoint the ambition 
of two dear friends, but it had to be. On the southern journey 
of the National Antarctic Expedition the average advance had 
only been 6J statute miles per day, estimating distances in the 
same way without allowing for relaying or deviation from a 

I A 




SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 185 

straight course. Thus before he could contemplate a successful 
journey to the Pole and back, Shackleton had to count on doing 
three times as well as on his former journey. The prospect 
did not daunt him. He trusted in his ponies, he trusted in 
his three chosen companions, Adams, Marshall, and Wild, most 
of all he trusted in himself. Every possible contingency which 
his vivid imagination could conceive was provided for. 

He arranged that in January 1909 Joyce should make a 
depot near Minna Bluff (about 60 miles south of Hut Point), 
with food enough to enable the Southern Party to get back 
to winter quarters, and that Joyce should remain at the depot 
to meet them until loth February, when, if they had not arrived, 
he was to go back to the Nimrod. Murray was left in charge 
at Cape Royds, and he had instructions to keep a good look 
out for signals from Hut Point or Glacier Tongue until loth 
March, which was judged to be the latest time that it would 
be possible for the ship to remain. If the ship had to leave 
before the Southern Party returned, a relief party of three was 
to be left for another winter at Cape Royds to look for records 
on a southern journey in the following year. 

On 29th October the four men bound for the Pole left the 
little hut at Cape Royds with the four ponies, two of which were 
soon found to have gone lame, and with a supporting party 
of six men who hauled their own sledges. After reaching Hut 
Point there were delays and some going to and fro before a 
real start for the south was made on 3rd November. Once on 
the Barrier a course was laid to the east -south-east in the hope 
of avoiding the dangerous crevasses which broke the surface 
of the ice towards the land on the west. Extraordinary care 
had to be taken, as very often the snow covering a crevasse 
was strong enough to let a man cross safely, but not to stand 
the weight of a pony. They had two tents, two men sleeping 
in each, and the partners changing at frequent intervals so 
that each could learn to know each of the others equally well. 
From 12 to 15 miles was the usual march, but on 5th November 
the two parties were confined to their tents by a blizzard. 
Next day the supporting party started on their return to the 


By 13th November Shackleton and his three comrades had 
got out of the region of crevasses and could relax the extreme 
tension of the look out; the worst trouble in going forward 
now became the soft snow which filled the long hollows between 
the gentle ridges of the Barrier surface. Shackleton had a 
severe attack of inflanmiation of the eyes, which explorers gaily 
term snow blindness, but it soon yielded to treatment. On 
the 14th they sighted Depot A, which had been laid out nearly 
six weeks before. Wild picking it up on camping when sweeping 
the horizon with his glasses. The upturned sledge and fluttering 
flag were clearly visible; and the party slept well, with the 
justifiable satisfaction of having come straight to this speck 
on the vast white expanse 60 miles from the nearest land. 
Shackleton compared it to picking up a buoy in the middle 
of the North Sea. The weather was fine, the surface fairly 
good ; for a week their daily march had been 15 miles or 

On 19th November they found from observations of the sim 
that they were in 80° 32' S., a position which was not reached 
from the Discovery imtil i6th December. This was cheering. 
The calmness of the weather was extraordinary, although clouds 
would appear mysteriously and speed across the sky overhead 
without a breath of wind at the surface. " It is," wrote 
Shackleton, " as though we were truly at the world's end, were 
bursting in on the birthplace of the clouds and the nesting home 
of the four winds ; and one has a feehng that we mortals are 
being watched with a jealous eye by the forces of Nature." 
The western mountains were now beginning to come into view 
on the horizon on the right and also straight ahead, so that the 
route had to be kept still more east of south in order to keep 
well clear of the crevassed region. On 21st November one of 
the ponies, Chinaman, which had been weakening for some time, 
was found unfit to travel farther, and had to be killed. The 
meat was kept to save the preserved food, and so prolong the 
time for which the expedition could keep the field. Depot B was 
constructed, about 100 miles south of Depot A, to make room 
on the three sledges that were taken on, the material left being 
80 lb. of pony maize, a 27-lb. tin of biscuit, some sugar, and a 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 187 

tin of paraffin, stores which would allow the four men food 
enough to take them back to Depot A on the return journey. 
This meant that the lives of the party depended absolutely 
on their being able to pick up this speck in the wilderness a 
couple of months later. Now their eyes were gladdened by 
the sight of land rising into mountain peaks which had never 
been seen before. Shackleton's diary says : 

" The land consists of great snow-clad heights rising beyond 
Mt. Longstaff, and also far inland to the north of Mt. Mark- 
ham. These heights we did not see in our journey south on 
the last expedition, for we were too close to the land, or rather, 
foothills, but now at the great distance we are out, they can be 
seen plainly." 

The Barrier surface was as flat as a billiard table, the 
ponies pulled well, the daily marches lengthened to i8 miles, 
and on 26th November they passed the farthest south reached 
in 1902, which it had taken the Discovery party, starting at 
the same date, until 29th December to reach. That night 
there was a carouse in the tents to celebrate the breaking of 
the record. A four-ounce bottle of curagao sent by a friend 
at home, and the now rare luxury of a smoke set free the 
springs of conversation, and for the time the four felt that their 
goal was all but won. Some glimmering of what the leader 
spoke of may be caught from a soliloquy in The Heart of the 

*' . . . It was with feelings of keen curiosity, not unmingled 
with awe, that we watched the new mountains rise from the 
great imlmown that lay ahead of us. Mighty peaks they were, 
the eternal snows at their bases and their rough-hewn forms 
rising high towards the sky. No man of us could tell what 
we would discover in our march south, what wonders might 
not be revealed to us, and our imaginations would take wings 
until a stumble in the snow, the sharp pangs of hunger, or the 
dull ache of physical weariness brought back our attention 
to the needs of the immediate present. As the days wore on 
and moxmtain after moimtain came into view, grimly majestic, 
the consciousness of our insignificance seemed to grow upon 


On 28th November Depot C was made in latitude 82° 40' S., 
and here a second pony, Grisi, had to be shot. A week's pro- 
visions and oil, as well as a quantity of the horse-flesh, were 
left here, enough to carry the party back to Depot B, and a 
sledge was left as a mark. The onward march was made with 
two loaded sledges, each weighing 600 lb., including suppUes 
for nine weeks, and two men helped each pony by hauhng on 
the sledge. The Barrier surface was now ridged into long, low 
undulations, which were only discovered by the disappearance 
and subsequent reappearance on the northern horizon of the 
snow pillars built at each resting-place to serve as guides for 
the return. On ist December, in 83° 16' S. latitude, a third 
pony, Quan, Shackleton's special favourite, was found quite 
worn out and had to be shot, leaving only Socks to help with 

Pulling the sledges was now heavy work for the men, as the 
weather continued calm and the sun shone hotly day and night, 
high above the northern horizon at noon and not very much 
lower above the southern horizon at midnight. The air 
temperature rose nearly to the melting point of ice, and the 
four men, stripped to their shirts, suffered from the heat, [finding 
comfort only in chewing raw frozen horse-flesh, which cooled 
them though it did Uttle to assuage the savage hunger which 
was intensified by the unending toil. They sighed or cursed, 
according to habit, at the thought of what they could do if 
only there was food enough to eat as much as their natures 
craved for ; but there was no rebellious thought, and Shackleton 
was greatly strengthened in his resolution by the good will with 
which his fellows faced harder work and poorer fare in order to 
increase the chance of reaching the Pole. The mountains were 
trending more and more to the eastward, and the time had come 
to strike due south in search of a way across their ramparts. 

An isolated summit, some 3000 feet in height, appeared close 
ahead, and naming it Mt. Hope, Shackleton shaped a course 
which brought him to its base on 2nd December. Next day 
he left the sledges and pony at the camp, and with his com- 
panions clambered across a stretch of ridged and crevassed ice 
and round an enormous chasm, 80 feet wide and 300 feet deep. 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 139 

to the granite rocks of Mt. Hope. The coloured goggles he 
wore made it difficult to see, and with a characteristic impulse 
he took them off, saw clearly, but paid for it with a sharp attack 
of " snow blindness." This he counted as nothing because of 
the vision of the road to his promised land which burst upon 
him on scaling the precarious weathered granite rocks of his 
Pisgah. Before him rose great bare mountains with prodigious 
cliffs falling sheer for thousands of feet to a stupendous glacier 
which descended between them from a high snowfield far to 
the south and lay like a road to the Pole, smooth and straight 
and gently sloping. Distance made nothing of details of struc- 
ture which were soon to assume gigantic proportions. Where 
the ice-river met the plain of the Barrier it gave rise to tremen- 
dous disturbances, seracs, pressure ridges, crevasses, dying off 
ultimately into the long undulations which they had detected 
on their way from the north. To this grand feature Shackleton 
gave the name of the Beardmore Glacier, in honour of the 
friend whose guarantee had made the discovery possible. 

Next day, by almost superhuman labours, they pioneered 
a way over a gap 2000 feet in height, whence they descended 
to the glacier surface with their pony and two sledges. Here 
the Lower Glacier Depot was made on 5th December at a camp 
close under a gigantic granite pillar, from the weathered surface 
of which the travellers, accustomed so long to be themselves 
the highest figures in the landscape, were fearful that falling 
stones might bombard their tent. 

As they pursued their way up the Highway to the South 
their difficulties increased. The pony had great trouble on the 
patches of smooth ice, and Wild was unfailing in attendance on 
the poor beast, leading it as far as possible along the snow- 
slopes. The morning of 7th December had been full of anxiety 
on account of the shadowless half-light due to cloudy weather 
which conceals all irregularities of surface. Later in the day the 
light improved and the party, now about 1800 feet above sea- 
level, proceeded cautiously, Shackleton, Adams, and Marshall 
pulling one sledge in front, Wild leading the pony with the other 
sledge behind them. A sudden cry of " Help ! " stopped the 
advance, and, turning round, the three men saw the pony- 


sledge sticking up out of a crevasse, with Wild holding on to it ; 
but Socks, the pony, was gone. It had broken through the snow- 
bridge, and, but for the fact that its weight in the sudden shock 
of the fall had snapped the swingle-tree of the sledge, Wild 
and the stores would have followed it into the abyss. 

Had the sledge gone it is doubtful if the party, with only half 
its equipment, could have got back to Hut Point. The loss 
of the pony, which was to have been shot that night, did not 
appear so serious at the moment ; but as events developed it 
seems that the want of the meat from this pony was one of the 
factors which made the attainment of the Pole impossible. At 
the time Shackleton only felt that the accident made his task 
more difficult, and he still had reserves of mental strength 
enough to believe that harder work on his part might still lead 
to complete success. Next day and the next they pushed 
on with improving surfaces for 12 miles each day along the 
glacier, rising by night to 2500 feet. The utmost vigilance 
was still necessary, for one of the party fell through a snow 
bridge into a crevasse and escaped death only because his 
sledging harness and the sledge itself held under the shock. 
Had they failed, he would have gone to the bottom of a crack 
which was estimated to be 1000 feet deep. Before they were 
done with the Beardmore Glacier, every one had repeated this 
experience. There had been no scamped work on the equip- 
ment or in the testing of it ; otherwise not one of the party 
would have returned alive. 

Good progress continued until nth December, when the 
party had got up to 3300 feet ; but they were still 340 miles 
from the Pole, and straining every nerve to push forward on 
reduced rations. In the midday rest Shackleton and a com- 
panion climbing the lower slopes of the moimtains bordering the 
valley in which their glacier highway ran, noticed that old 
moraines lay in terraces far above the actual surface of the ice, 
and gathered geological specimens from the rocks in place — 
small ones, to be sure, for every oimce to be carried was a con- 
sideration, yet enough to set the geologists to work on their 
return. The two left at the camp utilized the rocks that lay 
about them to grind up a quantity of pony maize by crushing 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 141 

it between stones so that it could be used to eke out their pro- 

The slope of the glacier now began to steepen, and progress 
had to be counted rather in feet of ascent than in miles of 
advance, while the task of hoisting the sledge over the rugged 
and slippery ice-falls was becoming heart-breaking. The 
deplorable system of relaying had to be adopted for the first 
time on this journey, and in three days only 15 miles were gained 
though 45 werQ travelled ; but the height above sea-level had 
risen to 5600 feet. Each day Shackleton hoped that the end 
of the glacier was at hand and that an easy run over the Plateau 
would follow. But every day new mountains continued to 
emerge on the west and east, and Marshall kept taking angles 
to them and mapping the country as they proceeded. This 
work was extremely difi&cult and laborious, and was carried out 
throughout the journey with consummate skill, yielding a map 
of quite unusual accuracy for such a march. Every day they 
fell many times ; but though any fall might have had fatal 
consequences, no serious damage was done. On the 17th the 
remarkable discovery was made that certain dark bands which 
ran along the face of a huge sandstone cliff were seams of coal 
though apparently of poor quality. There was no time to spare 
for a close inspection, and as the Plateau was at last in sight, 
or so they thought, it was time to prepare for a final spurt of 
speed as soon as the level could be reached. A depot was 
accordingly made in 85° S., about 6000 feet above sea-level. 
All the heavy clothes were left here and provisions for four days, 
that being considered sufficient to bring them back to the depot 
near the lower end of the glacier which they had left ten days 
earlier ; they hoped when going downhill to move twice as fast 
as in climbing, or if not, to eat less in proportion. One of the 
two sledges was left here and one of the tents, all four crowding 
into one, the floor space of which was completely covered by 
their sleeping bags. 

The slope of the glacier became less, but a week had yet 
to pass with an average rate of advance of 10 miles per day 
before the crevasses which beset the upper snowfield were left 
behind and the Plateau fairly entered on. Some days the 


frozen surface rang hollow under their feet as if they were 
walking on the glass roof of a station. The weather continued 
good, but the short rations kept all the men in a state of un- 
ceasing hunger, with the thought of food never out of their 
conscious minds by day and dominant in their dreams at night. 
They had been scrimping themselves by an extra effort to have 
some semblance of a feast on Christmas Day. The day came 
and they were at last on the edge of the Plateau at a height of 
9500 feet, almost at the 86th parallel of latitude, still 250 geo- 
graphical miles from the Pole, and Shackleton was still confident 
that it could be reached with enough reserve of food and strength 
to make a safe return to the sea possible. The evening meal 
came at last. Shackleton says in his book : 

" We had a splendid dinner. First came hoosh, consisting 
of pony ration boiled up with pemmican and some of 
our emergency 0x0 and biscuit. Then in the cocoa water I 
boiled our little plum-pudding, which a friend of Wild's had 
given him. This, with a drop of medical brandy, was a luxury 
which Lucullus himself might have envied ; then came cocoa, 
and lastly cigars and a spoonful of creme de menthe sent us by 
a friend in Scotland. We are full to-night, and this is the last 
time we will be for many a long day. After dinner we dis- 
cussed the situation, and we have decided to still further reduce 
our food. We have now nearly 500 miles, geographical, to do 
if we are to get to the Pole and back to the spot where we are 
at the present moment. We have one month's food, but only 
three weeks' biscuit, so we are going to make each week's food 
last ten days. We will have one biscuit in the morning, three 
at midday, and two at night. It is the only thing to do. 
To-morrow we will throw away everything, except the most 
absolute necessities." 

Next day they lost sight of the mountains, and their horizon 
was limited by a circle of snow on the bare, upward-sloping 
Plateau. On each of three days they made a march of 14 miles 
and reached 86° 31' S. at a height of 10,000 feet. Now Shackle- 
ton hoped that with fine weather he could reach the Pole by 
I2th January and make a rush back to catch the Nimrod on 
28th February. The great altitude was having its effect, how- 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 148 

ever, and this there was no means of counteracting. One after 
another began to suffer from frightful headaches ; the wind 
blew stronger, and their worn clothing and tent no longer kept 
it out ; deficient food had lowered their vitality, so that their 
temperatures were all 4° subnormal. Only their unconquerable 
will kept them going on, farther and farther from adequate 
food and safety. One day a blizzard reduced their progress to 
4 miles ; but on New Year's Day, 1909, they passed latitude 
87°, and had beaten all previous records towards the Poles, 
north or south. There was now nothing in life but the one 
struggle to get on in the teeth of difficulties, and difficulties 
were piling up from the storms outside and the growing weak- 
ness within. All were on the verge of frost-bite, and the greatest 
torture was experienced through the freezing of the moisture 
from their breath or the water running from inflamed eyes on 
their faces and beards, often caking into one solid mass with 
their clothes, and in the effort to reduce weight they had not 
left themselves with even a pair of scissors to cut the matted 
hair about their mouths. On 2nd January Shackleton wrote : 

" God knows we are doing all we can, but the outlook is 
serious if this surface continues and the plateau gets higher, 
for we are not travelling fast enough to make our food spin out 
and get back to our depot in time. I cannot think of failure 
yet. I must look at the matter sensibly and consider the lives 
of those who are with me. I feel that if we go on too far it will 
be impossible to get back over this surface, and then all the 
results will be lost to the world. We can now definitely locate 
the South Pole on the highest plateau in the world, and our 
geological work and meteorology will be of the greatest use to 
science ; but all this is not the Pole. ... I must think over 
the situation carefully to-morrow, for time is going on and food 
is going also." 

f,Two days later : 

" The end is in sight. We can only go for three more days 
at the most, for we are weakening rapidly. . . . We started at 
7.40 a.m., leaving a depot on this great wide plateau, a risk 
that only this case justified, and one that my comrades agreed to, 
as they have to every one so far, with the same cheerfulness 


and regardlessness of self that have been the means of our getting 
as far as we have done so far. Pathetically small looked the 
bamboo, one of the tent poles with a bit of bag sewn on as a 
flag, to mark our stock of provisions which has to take us back 
to our depot, 150 miles north. We lost sight of it in half an 
hour, and are now trusting to our footprints in the snow to 
guide us back to each bamboo until we pick up the depot 

On 6th January, Marshall got an observation of the sun 
which placed them in 88° 7' S., or 113 geographical miles from 
the Pole, and the diary says, " To-morrow we must turn " ; 
but the bitter wind against which they had been fighting for 
days rose to the highest fury of a bhzzard, and all the morrow 
and the day after the four men lay shivering in their tent, unable 
to face the blast and unable to keep their minds from dwelling 
on the risks of their footprints being obliterated, of the depot 
being snowed under and the flag carried away ..." it is a 
serious risk that we have taken, but we had to play the game 
to the utmost, and Providence will look after us." 

Even then, with nothing to read, with almost nothing to eat, 
and with nothing to do save occasionally to nurse the frozen 
foot of a comrade back to life, the spirit of Shackleton flamed 
high ; he pictured the triumph of their return, even without 
the culmination of their hopes, and he strove in spite of his 
own bitter disappointment to hearten the others. 

On 9th January 1909 the weather cleared ; the four men left 
the camp and sledge at 4 a.m. and half -running, half -walking, 
they came by 9 a.m. to a point which was estimated as in 
88° 23' S. and 162° E., 97 geographical or 113 statute miles 
from the South Pole. They displayed the Union Jack presented 
by Queen Alexandra, their personal sledge flags had been left 
behind in the Glacier depot to save the few oimces of weight, 
and Marshall took a photograph of the other three standing 
beside the flag. A brass tube was buried in the snow with a 
record and a sheet of Antarctic stamps ; the Plateau was form- 
ally annexed to the British Empire, and taking the flag with 
them these men, the remotest from their kind in all the world, 
turned their backs on their unreached goal and started their 


SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 145 

race of 700 miles, with Death on his pale horse, the blizzard, 
following close. 

To their relief they found their footprints clearer than when 
first produced. The snow compressed beneath their weight had 
resisted the wind which had swept off the loose surface, leaving 
the tracks marked out in little blocks several inches high. The 
fierce wind continued to howl behind them day after day, and 
a sail hoisted on the sledge was a great help in hauling. On the 
loth and nth the distance made averaged 18 miles ; the depot 
left on the Plateau with such misgiving was safely picked up, and 
Death was beaten on the first lap. As the surface began to 
slope downward the pace improved, until from the 14th to the 
17th they were doing more than 20 miles a day, though suffering 
from continual hunger, and kept from sleeping at night by 
the pain of their lacerated heels. The sledge-meter by which 
they had measured the distance travelled got broken, and 
distances had to be estimated and checked by observations 
of the sun. 

The moimtains came into sight on the i6th, and as the 
snowfield merged into the glacier the speed increased to 26 miles 
on the i8th and 29 miles on the 19th. This was the best day's 
march ever made, the sledge being rushed down ice-falls and over 
crevasses, and sadly strained on the way. 

The depot laid on the Beardmore Glacier in latitude 85° S. on 
17th December was picked up on 20th January and the four days' 
provisions there secured, as well as the second tent and sledge, 
so that the conditions of camping were improved a little, though 
the labour of tent -pitching was increased. Death was beaten 
on the second lap. The day had been full of trying experiences, 
the slippery, clear blue ice, swept clean of snow, led to frequent 
falls, and Shackleton was very badly shaken, so disabled indeed, 
that for a whole day he could not haul, and it was as much as 
he could do to keep up with the sledge. Delay was impossible, 
for after supper on the 25th there was only one short meal left, 
which was eaten on the morning of the 26th, and the party went 
on fasting for the rest of that day and all the next until the 
Lower Glacier Depot left on 5th December was reached in the 
evening. Death was beaten this time by a margin of hours 


only. These were the hardest and most trying days of the 
whole expedition, and the men, dauntless even in starvation, 
came to the very limit of endurance. They were marching or 
rather scrambling amongst ice-falls and crevasses for nearly twenty 
hom-s with nothing but a cup of tea or cocoa to support them, 
constantly breaking through snow bridges, and only saved from 
destruction by their sledge harness. Shackleton wrote in his 
diary : "In fact only an all-merciful Providence has guided 
our steps to to-night's safety at our depot. I cannot describe 
adequately the mental and physical strain of the last forty- 
eight hours." It is a fact vouched for by all the four men that 
even then there was never a cross word from one of them nor 
the semblance of a quarrel on the whole journey. 

With a spare sledge-meter from the depot and six days* 
food to carry them over the 50 miles to Depot C on the Barrier, 
they got off the Glacier to their intense relief and set their faces 
homeward on the last but longest stretch of their desperate 
race. The weather was not too favourable, but that was not 
the most disquieting circiunstance. Some of the party had 
developed dysentery, it was supposed from eating the horse-flesh 
from the depot. 

Wild, who had been the first to be stricken with dysentery, 
was unable to eat the horse-flesh, and suffered horribly from 
hunger. At breakfast-time a biscuit was served out to each, 
which could be eaten at the time or kept till later in the day. 
On 31st January Wild finished his at once, and as he was starting 
on the march he found Shackleton's hand slipping a biscuit into 
his pocket. " What's that, Boss ? " he asked, and the answer 
was, " Your need is greater than mine." He resisted ; but 
Shackleton was irresistible and fought in silence with his hunger, 
for he knew his friend was more hardly put to it than himself. 
The other two men never knew of the incident. No one could 
say that Shackleton was acting the part of Sir Philip Sidney 
for his own glory, for until now the facts were written only in 
Wild's private diary. There he says, " S. privately forced upon 
me his one breakfast biscuit, and would have given me another 
to-night had I allowed him. I do not suppose that any one 
else in the world can thoroughly realize how much generosity 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 147 

and sympathy was shown by this ; / do, and by God I shall 
never forget it." He never did, as the record of their great 
friendship abundantly proves. 

The snow pillars marking the outward route were standing 
and were spotted one by one, ensuring a straight march on the 
Grisi depot (Depot C) which had been left on 28th November. 
This was reached on 2nd February, the birthday of Shackleton's 
boy Ray, and in honour of the day two extra lumps of sugar 
were served out. A start was made next day with a new 
sledge, in deep soft snow, and progress was slow. The meat 
from the pony Grisi was perhaps poisoned by some ptomaine, 
it was surmised by the toxin of fatigue, for the animal was in 
an exhausted condition when shot. Every one was down with 
dysentery on the second day out. The ninety-one days for 
which the party had been provisioned on leaving Hut Point 
were past, and there was no alternative to the horse-meat as 
staple food for weeks to come. Delay was more dangerous 
than ever, for the Nimrod's skipper, whoever he was, must 
by this time be looking anxiously at the ice-conditions and 
might not be able to await the coming of the Southern Party. 
4th February was calm and sunny, but no one could stir 
from the tent, and the day was passed in imspeakable misery. 
Death had crept up terribly close this time. Next day the 
men were a little better, and marched 8 miles, then followed 
days with 10 and 12 miles of northing made; some of the 
party still felt very ill, all were extremely weak and hungry. 
The wind strengthened from the south and for four days the 
sail helped them along, enabling them to make 16 to 20 miles 
daily on half a pannikin of half-stewed horse-flesh and five 
biscuits per man each day. 

On the evening of 12th February the flag on Chinaman 
depot (Depot B), which was left on 21st November, was sighted. 
It was reached next morning, and the liver of the pony was 
" splendid " ; a solid red mass found by Shackleton in the snow 
puzzled them for a time, then it was recognized as frozen blood 
and proved a welcome addition to the diet. For days past 
all the thoughts of every one had been of food ; but eating 
was a torment, for the worst trouble that had now come upon 


them was that of bhstered and burst hps due to the cold wind 
..and their enfeebled state. On the 15th, Shackleton's birthday, 
his comrades prepared a present that was a complete surprise. 
It was a cigarette made of the last shreds of their pipe tobacco 
rolled in coarse paper ; but the kind thought of his friends 
lent it a flavour more appreciated than the dainty Tabards 
of his luxurious days. 

On the 17th a terrible southerly blizzard, which would have 
kept them prisoners in their tent at any other time, was hailed 
as a friend, and with the sail up they made 19 miles that day, 
venturing to increase their rations somewhat on the strength 
of the good march, and often hardly able to keep ahead of the 
sledge as the roaring wind drove it on. Still the dominating 
obsession of all was food. " We all have tragic dreams of 
getting food to eat," writes Shackleton, " but rarely have the 
satisfaction of dreaming that we are actually eating. Last 
night I did taste bread and butter. We look at each other 
as we eat our scanty meals and feel a distinct grievance if one 
man manages to make his hoosh last longer than the rest of us." 

On i8th February Mt. Discovery was sighted, on the 19th 
the familiar outline of Erebus with its flag of steam, the winning- 
post of their race, came in view, and on the 20th they reached 
Depot A, which they had left on 15th November, ninety-seven 
days since. They enjoyed the pot of jam originally intended 
for Christmas, which had been left here to save weight, and 
they had now plenty of tobacco ; but all their hope of getting 
back to safety depended on the food in the depot which Joyce 
was to have laid out to the east of Minna Bluff. He had 
orders not to stay there after loth February, and by this time 
he was probably back on the ship. 

The finding of Joyce's depot was a precarious adventure, the 
worst if almost the last obstacle of their dreadful race. There 
were no tracks to lead to it, and it was impossible to be certain 
that it was there at all. During the next two days a blizzard 
raged, into which only starvation could drive the most valorous 
of travellers ; but the direction was favourable. Death would 
overtake them if they halted, and they made 21 miles a day 
in it. Even so, by the second evening they had finished their 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 149 

food. Then unexpectedly they struck the track of a sledge 
which led them to a deserted camping-place where empty 
tins with unfamiliar labels proved that the ship must have 
returned to Cape Royds before Joyce's party left to lay the 
depot, and that the depot had been laid. A diligent hunt 
amongst the rubbish in the snow found nothing eatable but 
three little pieces of chocolate and a scrap of dog-biscuit. 
Lots were drawn as to which man should have each fragment, 
and the Boss had the ill-luck to fare worst, as the half -gnawed 
bit of biscuit fell to his share. Next morning early, 23rd 
February, Wild caught sight of the longed-for depot flag, far 
away on the right and only raised into view above the horizon 
by the accident of a mirage which faded away just as Marshall 
had taken its bearing. But for this miraculous help, so it 
appeared to them, the depot would certainly have been missed ; 
Death would have caught them, and the tragedy of three years 
later to Scott's party would certainly have been anticipated. 

The line of march was changed ; at 4 p.m. the depot was 
reached with abimdant food and even a superfluity of luxuries. 
Never were starving and exhausted men more richly succoured. 
Warned by experiences on the Discovery, Shackleton preached 
moderation to his companions and practised it himself. The 
letters from the ship, which had reached M'Murdo Sound on 
5th January under the command of F. P. Evans, formerly 
of the Koonya, gave rise to some anxiety as to how long she 
would stay, and Shackleton had now a new inducement for 
fast travel ; but next morning Marshall was found to be very 
ill, and a blizzard was blowing in which it would have been 
madness for him to move. The day was spent in sleeping 
bags, with ample food, a welcome rest to tired bodies though 
fraught with anxiety for doubtful minds. On 26th February 
they did a 24-mile march on which Marshall suffered 
greatly though he stuck to it doggedly. Next evening after 
another march he was so ill that Shackleton left him in the 
tent with all the food and Adams to look after him, while 
he and Wild with one day's rations and a light sledge made 
a forced march to Hut Point. To their horror they foimd 
open sea 4 miles south of Cape Armitage, and had to travel 


7 miles round before a landing could be made on the east side 
of the peninsula far north of Pram Point. 

Late on the night of the 28th they staggered up to the Dis- 
covery hut, a hundred and seventeen days after they had left it. 
True they were back on the very day Shackleton had decided 
on, as the latest date for his return, when at the farthest camp 
on the great Plateau ; but there was no time for congratulating 
himself on that score. There was no one at the hut, only a 
letter reporting the return of the Magnetic Pole party with 
their task accomplished and the safety of all the other members 
of the expedition, which was good news ; but going on to say 
that the Nitnrod would be lying at Glacier Tongue until 26th 
February, and this was very alarming. It was now 28th 
February, and if the ship had gone the fate of Marshall and 
Adams was sealed and their own also. Here at the very end 
of the fateful race Death had pulled up abreast of them, and 
the issue had never been more doubtful. There was food and 
fuel in the hut, and before long Shackleton had a meal ready ; 
but they had left all the sleeping gear with the sledge when 
they made the last effort to reach land, and there was no 
covering in the hut but some old roofing felt ; wrapped in this 
they sat up all night, too cold to sleep. They made an attempt 
to set the old magnetic hut on fire in the hope of attracting 
attention on the ship — ^if she had not gone — ^but they could 
not get it to bum. They climbed to Vince's cross to hoist a 
flag on it, but their numbed fingers could not tie a knot. On 
the march Shackleton had often talked of what he would do 
if the ship had gone, and he had even made a plan for sailing 
to New Zealand in the whaleboat. This effort was not necessary. 
When the darkness passed they tried the signals again and 
succeeded, and in a short time the age-long hours of watching 
ended and the ship appeared. They were on board the Nitnrod 
at II a.m. on ist March, received like men returned from the 
dead, as they had been given up for lost by the captain, who had 
only been persuaded by the unanimous appeal of the Cape 
Royds men to delay his departure to the last possible moment. 
Worn as he was with his four months of hardship and the 
two last sleepless nights, Shackleton himself led the relief party 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 151 

to take in Marshall and Adams, setting out for the south again, 
three hours after he had reached the ship, with Mackay, Mawson, 
and M'Gillan, and in less than tWenty-four hours they arrived 
at the camp and found Marshall better. When they got back 
to the ice-edge late on 3rd March, the ship was not to be seen. 
Another difficult landing had to be made to reach Hut Point, 
where a carbide flare brought the ship back about midnight. 
That happened in this way. Mackintosh had been pacing the 
deck of the Nimrod with a companion when he suddenly said 
that he felt certain that Shackleton had returned to the hut. 
His friend scoffed at the idea that any one would march in such 
a blizzard, and jokingly said that Mackintosh should go up to 
the crow's nest and wait until he saw a signal. Mackintosh 
went aloft and saw the flare as soon as he reached the 

Shackleton and Adams got on board at one o'clock in the 
morning and found the captain intensely anxious to get north 
out of the reach of the young ice. They were too utterly 
exhausted to return, and Adams had to be cared for, as he had 
fallen into the sea when getting on board the boat from a slippery 
ice-ledge. Marshall and the others were sent for in all haste, 
and the hut was closed and left, though time did not admit 
of going back with tools to make good the damage of years of 
stormy weather. There was no neglect shown by Shackleton's 

The ship steamed round Cape Armitage to beyond Pram 
Point in the afternoon, and a party landed to secure the sledge 
with geological specimens from the Beardmore Glacier which 
Shackleton had left there four days before and felt it right to 
rim some risk to recover. Then the Nimrod turned and made 
all speed to the north, passing Cape Royds, where the hut had 
been left with a full year's provision for fifteen men; the 
key hung outside the locked door, and a letter inside placing 
the whole at the disposal of any future expedition. Two 
years later Priestley, then on Scott's last expedition, revisited 
this hut and found that a meal of bread and tongue, which 
had been left unfinished on the table, was| still in perfect 


There were still some days fit for exploration, and Shackleton 
determined to utilize the time to the best advantage by trying 
to follow the coast of the continent westward beyond Cape 
North. The Nimrod passed Cape Adare on 6th March, and 
by the 8th she had got off Cape North in longitude i66° 14' E. 
and in latitude 69° 47' S. A stretch of coast was seen running 
west for about 45 miles with every appearance of being the 
northern end of the great Plateau. The eyes of Mawson were 
turned towards it to some purpose, and he marked it out as 
the scene of future Australian exploration. The yoimg ice 
was forming rapidly, and Shackleton was just in time when he 
decided at midnight on the 9th to escape from the danger of 
another wintering, yet there were some anxious hours in getting 
back to open sea. Then a short and pleasant passage brought 
them to New Zealand, affording time for complete recovery 
from all the fatigue and starvation. One member of the 
Southern Party put on twenty-eight poimds of weight in 
fourteen days. 

Shackleton 's mind, freed from the tension of constant 
thought on the insistent details of life at the very limits of 
human endurance, had time to accustom himself to the larger 
bearings of his expedition. He had justified to himself and 
to all men his family motto, Fortitudine Vincimus, and he 
recognized that he had not only done his best, but done sup- 
remely well. As of old, the albatrosses swooped about his 
ship, ever watchful, and he could meet their scrutiny with 
pride and a clear conscience no matter what sea-hero's soul 
might animate them, for he had proved himself to be in the 
direct succession of Cook, Biscoe, Balleny, and Ross, the dis- 
coverers of the Farthest South. 

The arm-chair geographer, who is apt to take cold-blooded 
views, saw two great results from Shackleton's southern 
journey. One, that he had advanced so far, the other, that he 
had not reached the Pole ; that sentimental but powerful 
magnet still remained to attract new expeditions, for which 
the conditions of success had been shown to be simple and 
the task comparatively easy. The greatness of Shackleton's 
advance is apparent from this little table, showing how each 



successive expedition outdid its immediate predecessor in 
poleward progress : 

Years later 


Geog. Miles 





farther than 


S. Latitude. 



from Pole. 

Cook . 


7i« 10' 



1 130 



74" 15' 




Ross . 








78° 50' 




Scott . 


82° 1/ 




Shackleton . 


88° 23' 




Amundsen "^ 

*"o / 

Scott . / 





Thus Shackleton has the greatest advance to his credit. 
He also, building on experience with the National Antarctic 
Expedition, pioneered the way to the Plateau in high southern 
latitudes. He clearly grasped the fact that transport was the 
key to the whole problem, and he took the most original and 
effective steps to overcome all difficulties. To his organizing 
power and to his generosity of character must also be placed 
a large share of the credit of the two great exploits of his ex- 
pedition in which he did not take part personally, the ascent 
of Mount Erebus and the journey to the Magnetic Pole, in 
which Sir T. W. Edgeworth David and Sir Douglas Mawson 
proved themselves to be worthy to rank with the foremost 
polar explorers of all time. 

Perhaps the greatest triumph of all was to bring back 
the expedition without the loss of a single life or permanent 
injury to the health of any member; and this must not be 
put down to chance. Shackleton certainly was amazingly 
fortunate in escaping disaster, not once or twice, but 
almost daily. He and his followers seem to have led a 
charmed life ; but, looking closely, we may see that in 
almost every case escape and safety followed on a quick 
decision, as, for instance, if the ship should push on or turn ; 
if the party should march or camp during a blizzard ; if, 
when sledging, they should rush a crevasse or pull up on the 


brink ; if they should leave four or six days' provisions in a 
depot, and the like. Shackleton's mind combined many diverse 
and sometimes contradictory qualities ; his keen imagination 
and instantaneous Irish intelligence gave his mental processes 
the quickness of intuition, but the solid Yorkshire qualities of 
shrewdness and caution always rose to the surface in emergencies, 
stimulated out of their Saxon deliberation by the urge of Celtic 
fervour. So it seems that Shackleton's quickest decisions were 
fully reasoned out from solid data, but so rapidly that the 
process eluded himself in a way similar to that by which 
a practised wireless operator reads the signals he receives 
directly as words, without consciously spelling them out letter 
by letter. Making full allowance, however, for the working 
of a finely-balanced and quickly-acting brain, which goes far to 
explain good luck in the ordinary affairs of life, we must re- 
cognize that again and again there was no assignable reason 
for a crisis leading to success instead of failure, and Shackleton's 
belief in providential guidance was perfectly sincere. 

The engagements with newspapers at home for exclusive 
news on which large payments to the funds were contingent, 
required some careful management to avoid premature dis- 
closure, and the explorer had perforce to become man of business 
again. The place appointed for sending the first dispatches 
was the most southerly telegraph office of the Dominion, the 
quaint little settlement of Oban, situated on Half Moon Bay in 
Stewart Island, and separated from the main part of New 
Zealand by a wide and stormy channel where only one small 
steamer plied once a week. 

The ship reached the island on 22nd March, some hours too 
late for the appointed time of cabling, so she anchored on the 
south of the island and the whole party landed to have a picnic 
tea on a lonely beach under the marvellous growth of tree-fern 
and creepers which gives to this outpost of the Empire the 
colour and the luxuriance of the tropics. Back from the blank 
and blinding whiteness of the snow and the blackness of cliff 
and shadow which had alone diversified the scene for the last 
fifteen months, all felt the gracious presence of the gentler 
powers of nature as no visitor to that land had ever done before. 

SHACKLETON ATTAINS. 1908-1909 155 

They watched with dehght the wekas or Maori hens which 
walked out of the undergrowth to share their meal, as un- 
conscious of danger as penguins, and at night they were lulled 
to sleep by the cry of the little owls persistently calling " More 
pork, more pork ! " 

Next morning the Nimrod steamed round to Half Moon 
Bay. At 10.30 Shackleton landed in his own boat, which 
immediately put off from the shore, and he walked alone under 
the almost arboreal growth of the southern gorse to the little 
post-office. In ordinary circumstances telegrams are telephoned 
across the channel to The Bluff ; but for this message a tele- 
graph instrument had been specially installed and a skilled 
operator had been waiting since loth March. Shackleton had 
a long account of the expedition's doings written out on telegraph 
forms on board, and after sending a brief code message to 
announce his return, the great news was put on the wires. 
Next morning four columns appeared in the London papers 
without a single mistake in word or figure, and there was no 
leakage. Probably only a few personal friends were thinking 
of Shackleton on 23rd March. On 24th March he was the talk 
of the whole civilized world, and when the Nimrod entered 
Lyttelton Harbour on the afternoon of the 25th, she met a 
blizzard of congratulations. How the boy who coimted his 
letters when the Hoghton Tower reached port would have gloried 
in the masses of letters and telegrams — ^and the man on the 
Nimrod was still a boy at heart ! No wonder that his narrative 
of the whole expedition concluded : 

" The loved ones at home were well, the world was pleased 
with our work, and it seemed as though nothing but happiness 
could ever enter life again." 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 

Nor will I say I have not dreamed (how well !) 

Of going .... forth, 

As making new hearts beat and bosoms swell. 

To Pope or Kaiser, East, West, South, or North, 
Bound for the calmly satisfied great State 

Or glad aspiring Uttle burgh . . . 
. . . where learned age should greet 
My face, and youth ... lie learning at my feet . . . 

With love about, and praise, tiU life should end, 
And then not go to heaven, but linger here, 

Here on my earth, earth's every man my friend — 
The thought grew frightful, 'twas so wildly dear ! 

But a voice changed it." 

Robert Browning. 

WHATEVER dreams of recognition and praise might 
have cheered Shackleton during the year of struggle 
to get his expedition together, and his year of toil 
and endurance in the farthest South, they fell short of the 
reaHty. No traveller, possibly no man, ever woke up to find 
himself so suddenly and so universally famous. No man stood 
the shock better either ; the essential modesty and generosity 
of his nature enabled him to keep his head, and much as he 
enjoyed the sunshine of popularity it changed in no way his love 
for his own people and his devotion to old friends. He entered 
with the keenest zest into the year of popularity which lay before 
him. He was young enough to feel to the full the gratification 
of honours conferred, while friends of youth were about him 
to share the happy glow. 

The first great public function he attended with most of 
his followers was a Thanksgiving Service in the fine cathedral 
which helps to give to Christchurch its peculiarly English 


POPULARITY. 1909-1910 157 

aspect, and here by special request he heard once more the 
hymns which had long had for him a mystical meaning as 
associated with his own career — " Fight the good fight with all 
thy might," and " Lead, kindly Light " — songs of work and 

The King truly expressed the feeUngs of the Empire in 
this telegram : 

" I congratulate you and your comrades most warmly 
on the splendid result accompHshed by your expedition, and 
in having succeeded in hoisting the Union Jack presented you 
by the Queen within loo miles of the South Pole, and the 
Union Jack on the South Magnetic Pole. I gladly assent to 
the new range of mountains in the far south bearing the name 
of Queen Alexandra. 

" Edward R. and I." 

Amongst the tributes telegraphed from the home papers 
he valued most highly the generous words of his old leader, 
Captain Scott (whose great nature revealed no grudge at the 
change of plan forced upon Shackleton by the conditions of the 
ice round King Edward Land), before he could have received any 
personal explanation. In fact, when the two met the subject 
was not referred to, each waiting for the other to raise it. One 
of the finest incidents in the history of exploration, the continued 
good relations between two men who might so easily have be- 
come envious rivals, passed unnoticed, because no one beyond 
a very small circle knew the circumstances. 

There was much work to be done in New Zealand arranging 
for the homeward voyage of the Nimrod, which, under the 
command of her former first officer, John King Davis, had a 
fine programme of hunting for dubious islands marked on the 
chart, but never seen since their reported discovery. Arrange- 
ments had also to be made for the development of photographs 
and kinema films, for the preparation of the book which was 
to help so greatly to pay the debts of the expedition, and for a 
multitude of other details. And as he worked Shackleton was 
always parrying the assaults of the reporters with smiles and 
jokes instead of the copy they strove for. Twice he travelled 


to Wellington, first to thank the Prime Minister for the fine 
help and generous reception New 2^aland had given to the 
expedition, then on the eve of sailing to lecture in the Town Hall 
to 3000 people, and put £300 into his pocket — only to pass the 
whole sum over to local objects with which he sympathized. 

Crossing to Australia at the end of April he was acclaimed 
by crowds, received by governments and universities at Sydney, 
Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, gave lectures in each capital 
to thousands of enthusiastic hearers, and with the reckless 
generosity of his nature handed over himdreds of pounds, 
tendered to him as fees, to the local hospitals. He swept 
through Australia on a roar of applause, and sailed in the same 
liner, the India, in which he had travelled out. On the voyage 
home he worked at his book, dictating much of it to a young 
New Zealander, Mr. Edward Saunders, who accompanied him 
to England as a literary assistant. He talked quietly to 
sympathetic fellow-passengers, and took pleasure in romping 
with the children ; and at the ports of call he used to keep the 
reporters waiting until he had finished the game he had entered 
on with his little friends. At Port Said he transferred himself 
with the mails to the Isis, and was rushed across to Brindisi by 
his old friend and comrade of Discovery days. Captain A. B. 
Armitage, who was then in command of the mail boat. In 
Italy he had a foretaste of the strenuous days before him. His 
publisher, Mr. Heinemann, was waiting for him and accom- 
panied him home, planning the details of the great book which 
was to be published within the year. The Royal Italian Geo- 
graphical Society sent a deputation to inform him that he had 
been awarded its great gold medal ; and, rushing through 
France, he leaped ashore on Dover pier at 3 o'clock on the after- 
noon of I2th June and found his wife waiting for him where 
she had seen him off twenty months before. 

For forty-eight hours the reunited couple disappeared from 
the world. Mrs. Shackleton had continued to live in Edinburgh 
with the children and her sister, and there in March she had 
been struggling with growing anxiety as the days went on, imtil 
on the forenoon of the 23rd her sister had persuaded her to go 
to the baths for a swim, her favourite recreation. So she had 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 159 

no idea that even then an early special edition of the evening 
paper was shouting the great news in Princes Street. As she 
got home telegrams were beginning to arrive from friends full 
of congratulations, amongst them a little cable from New 
Zealand, " Absolutely fit. . . . Home June " ; and now it was 
June and home. They motored out together on the Sunday 
to the old house at Tidebrook and wandered in the woods, 
recalling happy days and talking of the expedition, though 
Shackleton always made light of his share in it. He made no 
complaint even of the hard luck in having to turn back when 
the goal was in sight, summing it up in the remark, " An5rway, 
darling, I thought you would like a living donkey better than 
a dead lion." 

The London season had decreed, all the same, that a living 
lion he was, and insisted that he should play the part, and the 
people of England and of the world were of the same mind. In 
the next twelve months Shackleton had to fulfil more engage- 
ments and meet more people than in all his life before. We can 
only hope to give a faint idea of the blaze of light in which he 
and his wife lived during those enchanted months, or of the 
crash of song in which his deeds were celebrated. The first 
month may be looked at in some detail as a sample of what the 
hero of an hour has to go through. 

Long before 5 o'clock on the afternoon of Monday, 14th 
June 1909, the great gates of Charing Cross station had to be 
closed to keep out the crowd from the forecourt, and the arrival 
platform was already filled with personal friends. There was 
Dr. Shackleton, most of his family, his small grandson Ray in 
a sailor-suit with Nimrod on his cap, the smaller granddaughter 
Cecily, and many relatives. There was Captain Scott, foremost 
to greet his old comrade ; Major Darwin, President of the Royal 
Geographical Society, with many members of Council and 
officials, including several polar veterans, and a host of others, 
privileged to offer the earliest greetings to Lieutenant Shackle- 
ton, as the public stiQ delighted to call him. No one who was 
present is ever likely to forget the roar of cheering from the 
crowd which filled the Strand and Trafalgar Square as the open 
carriage, with Shackleton, his wife and children, made its way 


slowly along the streets where no attempt had been made to 
keep a passage open, for the police had failed to foresee this 
burst of enthusiasm. The newspapers put the crowd at 10,000, 
and telegraph boys had delivered 400 telegrams at the door by 
the time the party arrived. 

Next day there was a lunch given by the Royal Societies 
Club, with Lord Halsbury in the chair, when speeches of welcome 
and approval were made by Lord Halsbury, Sir Clements 
Markham, the promoter of the Discovery expedition, and Sir 
Arthur Conan Doyle. Shackleton's reply was a masterpiece 
of spontaneous oratory, rising to the height of a great occasion. 
The same evening Mr. Heinemann gave a dinner in the Savoy 
Hotel where the leading literary men of London were present, 
and here the explorer displayed in his speech the fascination 
which the finer forms of literature always exercised upon him. 
Sir W. Robertson NicoU, one of the guests, said of this speech, 
" He is a bom speaker and a bom leader of men. With perfect 
self-possession, with easy command of himself and his aud- 
ience, with an ample choice of fitting language, and with a rare 
modesty, he summed up the lessons of the expedition." Another 
literary journalist of great experience in judging the age and 
qualities of public men, who was present, thought that Shackleton 
was not more than thirty years of age — an estimate five years 
short of the mark, but a tribute to the boyish spirit which 
always rose triumphant after the hardest experiences. Next 
night there was a superb Society dinner and reception in Park 
Lane, where Tetrazzini sang ; the next a dinner of a City 
Company, and the week ended with a night of Bohemian jollity 
at the Savage Club, where Captain Scott presided and Shackleton 
solemnly signed his name on the wall behind the chair, to be 
glassed in later like the autographs of Nansen and other great 
travellers which kept it company. 

The following week was filled with a crowded succession of 
lunches, garden-parties, dinners and receptions, for the most 
part at the mansions of great ladies, who were determined 
to have the lion of the season on exhibition ; but a few at 
the homes of old friends to whom he was no lion, but a 
man with whose efforts they had sympathized and in whose 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 161 

triumph they rejoiced. Several honours and distinctions had 
been conferred by geographical and other societies abroad ; 
but the first of the first-class distinctions at home to fall to 
Shackleton's lot was his appointment as a Younger Brother of 
the Trinity House, with the special approval of the Master, 
the Prince of Wales. This honour is peculiarly valued by 
merchant -service officers, and it appealed in particular to one 
who revered the ancient authority which watched over light- 
houses and the navigation of our coasts. 

On Monday, 28th June, the Royal Geographical Society 
had arranged for a special meeting in the Albert Hall at which 
the first detailed description of the British Antarctic Expedi- 
tion should be given by its leader and the photographs and 
kinematograph films exhibited. Before the meeting the Geo- 
graphical Club, a body more ancient than the Society itself, 
entertained Shackleton and all of his comrades who were in 
England to a dinner at which the Prince of Wales (our present 
King) was present, together with all the polar travellers then 
available. The meeting was a brilliant success. About eight 
thousand people, presided over by Major Leonard Darwin, 
filled the vast hall ; but Shackleton's great voice filled it too, 
and as he spoke, easily and without notes, modulating his tones 
to suit his theme, he held the immense audience hanging on 
his words. As he had once on a time held the Hoghton Tower 
close to the wind with his hand on the wheel, so now he brought 
the people shaking on the bfink of tears, then with a scarcely 
perceptible touch let them fall away in laughter. And this 
was now no unconscious power, but an art in which he knew 
and enjoyed his mastery. In that supreme hour he remained 
calm and deliberate, unexcited and free from agitation or 
affectation. It was observed that he hardly ever used the 
pronoun "I," but always "we," and no leader ever acknow- 
ledged more fully the part played by his comrades. For the 
first time those who had never travelled near the far South 
saw the movements of the penguins, as they pursued their 
quaint ceremonious lives, with their own eyes on the screen ; 
they saw the ponies harnessed and the sledges moving off 
towards the Pole, the motor-car struggling on the sea-ice, and 


the Nimrod charging through the pack, and were able to realize 
how tremendous was the revolution made in the art of polar 
travel and description by the British Antarctic Expedition, 
1907. The lecture over, the Prince of Wales rose, and with a 
few words of hearty appreciation of the lecture and the lecturer 
concluded, "as a brother sailor I am proud to hand him this 
medal " ; presenting the special gold medal which the Society 
had had struck for the occasion, showing Shackleton's portrait 
on the obverse. His Royal Highness then handed silver replicas 
of the medal to those other members of the expedition who 
were able to be present, namely, Adams, Armytage, Brockle- 
hurst. Day, Joyce, Mackintosh, Marshall, Marston, Murray, 
Priestley, Roberts, and Wild, the presentation being made in 
alphabetical order. 

Two days later the lecture was repeated in the Queen's 
Hall to the general public, with Lord Strathcona in the chair. 
Another week of dinners from lords and ladies famous in 
Society held some more interesting functions sandwiched 
between the lion-hunts. The Mayor of Lewisham, the " glad 
aspiring borough " which had grown to include Sydenham, 
welcomed him in the name of his townsfolk; the American 
Society honoured him at their Independence Day banquet ; 
and he was called upon to open the Exhibition of Travel and 
Sport at Olympia. 

On I2th July the Shackletons were commanded to Bucking- 
ham Palace, where King Edward and Queen Alexandra received 
them very graciously, heard the story of the great journey with 
interest and attention, and the King bestowed upon Shackleton 
the third class of the Royal Victorian Order, following the 
precedent in Captain Scott's case after the return of the 

For the three weeks between 7th and 29th July 
Shackleton's secretary typed out a list of thirty separate 
engagements, including the opening of flower shows, prize 
givings at several schools, of which his own Dulwich College 
was one ; dinners at City Companies and at great houses 
and famous clubs. One Saturday night he visited the 
Crystal Palace to see fireworks designed to represent himself 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 168 

at the Farthest South, after which he caught the midnight 
train to Leeds to address a great Sunday meeting of four 
thousand in the Town Hall in aid of the National Lifeboat 
Fund. The week before he had snatched a week-end in the 
country to get on with his book, at which he was working 
steadily for hours each day in the intervals of his fixed appoint- 
ments. Towards the end of the month he had a meeting 
entirely after his own heart at the Browning Settlement in 
Walworth, where he was presented with the badge of the 
Settlement, bearing the words from his favourite poem, 
" Prospice " — Sudden the worst turns the best to the brave ; 
and where he hailed the working men as brothers ; for, as he 
told them, he had been a worker ever since he shovelled coal 
at Iquique on the deck of his first ship. Amongst these people 
he found himself at his best, because he was in touch both 
with reality and poetry as he never was at the grand Society 
functions. July ended with the reward common to fame and 
notoriety of a realistic effigy in Madame Tussaud's. 

The months of August and September were full of hard 
work on The Heart of the Antarctic, the writing of which was 
finished in an amazingly short time ; they were full also of 
pleasant visits and happy surprises. For the third time 
Shackleton was in the Solent for the beginning of Cowes week, 
not this time outward-bound on an expedition awaiting Royal 
inspection, but with his wife as Sir Donald Currie's guests 
on board the fine new ship of his old line the Armadale Castle. 
Here Sir Donald had extended his historic hospitality to a 
great many important and interesting people. Amongst 
others of his new friends Shackleton met on board Sir Henry 
Lucy ("Toby, M.P."), who was greatly' interested in the ex- 
pedition and was so much moved on hearing that a debt of 
nearly £20,000 lay on the leader's shoulders that he sent a 
signed statement of the case to a London daily paper on 5th 
August. This raised a wave of public sympathy, and a general 
desire that something should be done. It did more than this, 
because on reading the article the Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, 
sent for Shackleton on the very day it appeared and assured 
him that steps would be taken to help him. 


A fortnight later Mr. Asquith wrote to Shackleton : 

" With reference to interviews I had with you on the subject 
of the Habihties incurred in connexion with the British Antarctic 
Expedition commanded by you, I am pleased to be able to 
inform you that the Government have decided to recommend 
Parliament to make a grant of £20,000 to meet a portion of the 
expenditure. The Government have been induced to take this 
course as they are much impressed, both by the great value 
of the discoveries made in the course of your voyage and by the 
efficient and economical manner in which the whole of the 
enterprise was conducted, as is shown by the fortunate return 
of your entire party, and by the comparatively small total 
outlay incurred." 

The news was received with a chorus of approval, both in 
Parliament and in the Press. The whole cost of the expedition 
had been under £45,000, less, indeed, than had been paid for 
the ship alone of the National Antarctic Expedition, 1901, 
and Shackleton was now able to relieve his guarantors at once 
from their obligations and pay off the debt at the bank. In 
his characteristically exuberant way he saw fortune as well 
as fame in his grasp, and declared that from the book and the 
lectures which had been arranged, he would make £50,000 for 
himself : an absurd overestimate, of course, but one which 
set the scale for his lavish expenditure and unmeasured gener- 
osity to relatives and the charities he delighted to surprise with 
his benefactions. If only he had had a strain of thrift in his 
character his future might, indeed, have been assured in 
comfort ; but the fact must be faced that, always grasping at 
fortune, Shackleton never secured himself against pecuniary 
embarrassment, though in this happy year of success the wolf 
of anxiety was far from his door. 

Early in September the news arrived that Dr. F. A. Cook 
claimed to have reached the North Pole, and was being feted 
in Copenhagen ; and later came the announcement of Admiral 
Peary's arrival at the North Pole. Each denied that the 
other had got there, and a great controversy began in which 
the general public on both sides of the Atlantic took sides. 

King Edward commanded Shackleton to deliver his lecture 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 165 

at Balmoral, and there he enjoyed hearty Highland hospitality 
for a delightful week-end and was in no way awed, as this letter 
to his wife shows : 

*' I am up here safely, and it is very comfortable. The King 
is very jolly, and took me down last night to arrange about the 
lecture and went into all details himself. There are some in- 
teresting people here, and one dear old naval man, 89. Lord 
Rosebery and Sir Allen Yoimg and Slatin Pasha are here 
also. ... I sat next but one to the King last night. ... He 
wore Highland costume. . . . We had a very good dinner 
and did not turn in until 11.30 p.m. The King enjoys a joke 
very much. He asked me a lot about Cook and Peary and 
Scott. He seems to know everything that is going on." 

On the suggestion of the King himself, we understand, 
Shackleton was elected to the Marlborough Club, where to the 
end of his life he was a well-known and popular member. 

The Nimrod had returned, and it was suggested that she 
might be thrown open to the public in the Thames. Shackleton 
sprang at the idea, but instead of leaving her in a dock below 
London Bridge, he decided to have her moored at the Temple Pier 
and an exhibition of Antarctic specimens and equipment in a hall 
on the other side of the road. Before the amazed riverside men 
could point out the impossibility of taking such a ship \mder 
the bridges, Shackleton had the masts out of her, the hull — 
so small in the Southern Ocean — blooming gigantic as she was 
towed through London Bridge, the Cannon Street railway 
bridge, the Southwark Bridge, and the two bridges at Black- 
friars. Then her masts were set up again and her crow's nest 
looked down ^t Cleopatra's Needle. Thousands of people visited 
the ship during the month she lay there, and £2000 was secured 
from their shillings for the London hospitals before the Nimrod 
set out on a tour round the coast in aid of charity. Anybody 
could have done a thing like this ; but only Shackleton did. 

Li October he made a tour of the Scandinavian capitals 
with his wife, and had his first taste of foreign Court life. They 
travelled in sleeping cars, and, as guests, they occupied the finest 
suites of rooms in all hotels. The lecture to the Geographical 
Society in Copenhagen was attended by the King and Queen of 


Denmark, Queen Alexandra, the Dowager Empress of Russia, 
and many other royalties of Denmark, Russia, and Greece, all 
of whom chatted amiably with Mr. and Mrs. Shackleton. The 
audience of nearly two thousand followed the lecture in Enghsh 
and laughed heartily at the jokes. Next day, after royal and 
diplomatic receptions, Shackleton repeated the lecture for the 
benefit of the poor of the city. Commander Hovgaard, the great 
Danish Arctic explorer, took charge of the arrangements and 
formed a close friendship with his young colleague of the South. 
They enjoyed every moment, and he carried away the order of 
Commander of the Dannebrog. He was presented by the 
Geographical Society with a gold medal, or rather with the case 
for it, as the medal which had been prepared for him had 
been given to Dr. Cook a month before and the new one was 
not yet ready. 

So on to Stockholm and then to Christiania, always greeted 
with popular acclaim on arrival, and hurried to palaces and 
legations for pleasant meals with kind and hearty kings and 
queens, or kind and courtly ministers, always waited on and 
hailed as an equal by the most famous explorers of the country, 
always Ustened to with rapt attention by crowded audiences, 
always leaving with a new gold medal and a fresh illustrious 
order. In Stockholm, Dr. Sven Hedin and Professor MonteUus 
entertained them, in Christiania Dr. Nansen and Captain Roald 
Amundsen, in Gothenburg Dr. Otto Nordenskjold, all men 
who had had long experience of polar conditions and knew 
what a man had come through in pushing into high latitudes. 
The enthusiasm was perhaps greatest in Christiania. There 
the students, led by Amundsen, conducted Shackleton in a torch- 
light procession from his hotel to the lecture hail, and afterwards 
carried him shoulder-high, with the short barking cheers, nine 
times repeated, that express so well the fervour of the roused 
Scandinavian spirit. At one banquet Mrs. Shackleton records : 

" I shall never forget the look on Amundsen's face while 
Ernest was speaking. His keen eyes were fixed on him, and 
when Ernest quoted R. Service's lines, ' The trails of the world 
be countless,' a mystic look softened them, the look of a man 
who saw a vision." 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 167 

That was the moment she believed that Amundsen resolved 
to turn the voyage on the Fram which he was then preparing 
from the North to the South Pole. As they were leaving 
Christiania, a young man, almost a boy, jumped into their 
carriage and had a long and earnest talk about the South polar 
regions; this was Tryggve Gran, who afterwards was taken 
on the expedition which Scott was then avowedly preparing. 

The progress swept on to Brussels, where the reception was 
magnificent, though at that moment the Court was somewhat 
constrained towards British visitors on account of criticisms 
in the London Press on Congo administration. King Leopold 
had his grim joke in offering Shackleton the Congo medal, which 
he felt obliged to decline ; but Prince Albert (the present popular 
King) presided at the lecture with tactful sympathy, and 
nowhere was there heartier applause. Captain de Gerlache, 
who had faced the first Antarctic night in his ill-found little 
Belgica, their host, translated the lecture into French, sentence 
by sentence, and amongst those most appreciative was the 
venerable Madame Osterrieth, whose devotion had made the 
dispatch of the Belgica possible in 1897, and who still smiled 
to hear her affectionate nickname of those days, " Mere 

At the end of October The Heart of the Antarctic was pubUshed 
in two great volumes, containing a full account of the British 
Antarctic Expedition, with appendices on the scientific work 
and the richest array of illustrations that ever graced a book 
of travel since the photographic era came in. As a feat of 
rapid writing and expeditious printing, this work was un- 
rivalled, and it showed no signs of haste in style of writing 
or form of presentation. Professor David's great journey was 
described by himself, and both parts of the work revealed the 
individuality of the authors. 

Then began the great series of lecture tours which filled 
the next twelve months. As designed, it was to include 
lectures at one hundred and twenty-three different places in 
Europe and America, involving 20,000 miles of travelling, and 
the addressing of audiences totalling a quarter of a miUion. 
Mr. Gerald Christy, the veteran lecture agent, had never before 


laid out so large a programme for any public man; but 
Shackleton tackled it as he had tackled his Southern journey, 
and carried it through without damaging his health or wearing 
out his popularity. The first fifty lectures filled November and 
December. Four were in Scotland, three in Ireland, forty in 
England. The chairmen were often men of high distinction : the 
splendid old Arctic sledge traveller, Admiral Sir Lewis Beaumont, 
presided over the opening of the campaign in London on ist Nov- 
ember ; other chairmen included a Viceroy, an Archbishop, the 
Headmasters of the greatest public schools, Dukes, Earls, 
Viscounts, Judges. But usually it was His Worship, the Mayor, 
whose introductory and valedictory oratory had to be borne once 
by the audience, but many times by the lecturer ; full of good- 
will it always was, but rarely lit by humour, though with such 
a lecturer as Shackleton this merely enhanced his brilliance. 

There were some pleasing incidents by the way. At Rugby 
on 9th November, the headmaster was able to congratulate the 
lecturer on the honour of knighthood announced that morning 
in the King's Birthday List. At Edinburgh, ten days later, 
on receiving the Livingstone Gold Medal from the Royal Scottish 
Geographical Society, Sir Ernest was able to say that as secretary 
he had sometimes carried a Livingstone Medal to that meeting, 
but he had never had to carry one away from it before. At 
the Irish lectures in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast he was received 
as an Irishman, and rose to the occasion to the delight of his 
audiences. At Halifax he was almost snowed up, and had to 
improvise a sleigh to take him over the blocked roads to reach 
the hall, giving him a homely feeling, he said, to be in a bUzzard 

The English lectures were interrupted for a few days to 
allow of a visit to Paris with Lady Shackleton, where Prince 
Roland Bonaparte presided at the meeting of the doyen of 
Geographical Societies, and presented the singularly beautiful 
medal. Here Shackleton took the bold step of reading his 
lecture in French, and his courage was warmly applauded, 
coming as it did in the first flush of the Entente Cordiale. More- 
over, the French translation of his book, Au cceur de V Antar clique, 
had been published in Paris the day before. In describing the 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 169 

evening the Figaro said : " When the applause ceased at last the 
explorer, in a clear and well-toned voice, began to read his 
lecture, which was written in excellent French though pro- 
nounced with a pretty strong British accent, which, however, 
did not prevent the audience from grasping the sense of the 
words, so sustained was the attention with which they listened." 
There were receptions by the Municipality of Paris in the Hotel 
de Ville, and by the President of the Republic in the Elysee, 
a dinner from the British Ambassador, and a banquet from the 
British Chamber of Commerce. Despite his " accent un peu 
difficile," Shackleton was a popular hero, and when decorated 
with the Legion of Honour he almost felt himself a Frenchman, 
remembering his Huguenot ancestors. 

One more high distinction at home was paid to the Expedition 
by the King personally decorating Sir Ernest and his companions 
of the shore party with the Silver Polar Medal, or an extra clasp 
for those who had been on the Discovery, and the officers of the 
Nimrod who had not wintered, with the bronze medal. 

The New Year, 1910, opened with a continental lecturing 
tour, sixteen lectures being given in twenty-two days in Italy, 
Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Russia. The tour began in 
Rome, where Shackleton, who always hated sight -seeing of the 
ordinary sort, was with difficulty persuaded by his wife and 
her sister to look into St. Peter's, and conducted to the spot 
just as the doors were being closed in the evening. This escape 
from the boredom of being shown round delighted him extremely. 
He went through the lecture with pleasure, though it was read 
in French by another, and he was received most cordially and 
decorated by the King. The Pope, strangely enough, was not 
moved to inquire into the Antarctic continent, and there was no 
visit to the Vatican. 

The next appointment was in Berlin, where a formal recep- 
tion was arranged at the arrival station. Changing at Munich, 
by some mischance, the Shackletons found themselves in the 
wrong train and reached Berlin before the appointed time ; how- 
ever Shackleton had to return to the station, apologize for his 
premature arrival, and go through the ceremonies according 
to plan. There were two lectures to immense and delighted 


audiences. On the first evening he spoke in English at the 
Berlin Geographical Society under the genial presidency of 
Professor Penck, with the Crown Prince and Princess in the 
forefront of the audience. On the second night he courageously 
essayed to read in German to the Colonial Society, where Herr 
Demburg, the Colonial Minister, presided with great grace and 
cordiality. The delivery of this lecture was by no means so 
happy for himself or his hearers ; but despite the " disastrous 
German " of his Dulwich College days, he persevered, as his 
Quaker ancestor Abraham Shackleton had persevered with Latin, 
and before long could make himself perfectly understood. The 
goodwill with which he grappled with the language ensured him 
immense popularity. There was much feasting at formal parties, 
lasting four hours at a stretch, with speeches between the leisured 

Then on to Vienna, where, on 9th January, the Imperial 
Geographical Society gave a grand reception and he a fine 
lecture, made the more memorable by the sharp contrast 
between the lonely tent on the Plateau where he lay nearest 
the Pole on that night in 1909, and the brilliant company 
he faced in 1910 with its galaxy of Archdukes and Arch- 

At Budapest the Geographical Society was even more effusive, 
and the hospitality if possible even more kind. So powerful was 
it, that Mr. Locsy actually overcame Shackleton's resistance to 
sightseeing, though he could not conquer the repugnance which 
showed itself in the lugubrious face in contrast with the mahcious 
triumph in the eye of the too kind host. Among the Hungarians 
he made many friends, and laid the foundations of future visits 
and high hopes. 

At Hamburg the triumph was repeated before a huge 
audience, who recalled the lecturer four times, and on 14th 
January, only a week after his first lecture in Berlin, he was back 
in the capital for two public lectures. More interesting was a 
private lecture given in EngUsh at Herr Demburg's house, for 
the special benefit of the Kaiser, who appeared in the uniform 
of a British Admiral of the Fleet, and was greatly interested 
and most genial. He had his views on Antarctic exploration. 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 171 

believing that Shackleton would have got on better if he had 
kept more to the west. With this the explorer, regardless of 
etiquette, bluntly disagreed, and he was also obUged to answer 
the well-meant question, " Did you shoot many bears ? " with 
" There are no bears in the Antarctic, Sir," only to be countered 
by " Why not ? " It was a very friendly meeting all the same, 
and resulted in mutual feelings of esteem between two strong 
men. Of all the German royalties Shackleton liked best Prince 
Henry of Prussia, whose frank recognition of a brother sailor 
was irresistible ; and when, after lecturing at Breslau, Dresden, 
Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Munich, he came to Kiel on 22nd 
January, he was entertained by the Prince as his guest in 
the Castle. 

The next engagement was with the Imperial Russian Geo- 
graphical Society in St, Petersburg, and Prince Henry gave a 
personal letter of introduction to the Tsar, while Princess Henry 
gave one to the Tsaritsa. Thus heralded, the visit to the Russian 
capital in the midst of its winter splendour went like a fairy- 
tale. He was introduced at the lecture by the venerable vice- 
president, M. Semenoff-Tianshansky, who had been honoured 
in the Russian way by hyphening the field of his explorations 
to his name, and entertained also by General de Schokalsky, 
the leading Russian oceanographer and polar student. Before 
leaving, he had a long audience of the Tsar, who talked to 
him for nearly two hours. It seems a paradox to assert that 
Shackleton's Antarctic journeys were less remarkable than his 
progress through Europe ; but it is certain that any strong 
young man at any time in the future may, if he can command 
a few thousand pounds, revisit the Great Barrier, the Beardmore 
Glacier, and the vast Plateau leading to the Pole, and find 
all these exactly as Shackleton saw them, as Scott and Amundsen 
saw them ; but to no man now living will it ever be possible, 
however much wealth he may be prepared to lavish in the quest, 
to find again the proud Court of a Hohenzollem in Berlin, 
of a Habsburg in Vienna, or of a Romanoff in St. Peters- 
burg : dynasties which have passed " with their triumphs and 
their glories and the rest," and capitals which are desolate or 


Six days after lecturing in St. Petersburg, Shackleton was 
addressing an audience in Aberdeen, and in the seven weeks 
following he lectured in forty other towns from St. Andrews 
on the north to Hastings on the south, from Lowestoft on the 
east to Plymouth on the west. Wherever he went he foimd 
enthusiastic audiences to whom the story of his adventures in 
the South were new, or at least the pictures were ; and to a man 
so attuned to sympathy as Shackleton, the tale he had told a 
hundred times was fresh every evening with some slight shade 
of difference drawn forth by the different hearers. Even so, 
and notwithstanding that all trouble over the arrangements was 
taken by his highly-skilled agents, the strain must have been 
heavy. Yet in between the formal lectures he found time for 
special addresses for charities, for interviews strongly vindicat- 
ing the integrity and polar success of Peary, and once to preside 
at the annual Court of the Seamen's Hospital at Poplar. When, 
accompanied by Lady Shackleton, he went on board the 
Lusitania on 19th March, he must have hailed the week's rest 
before him as a boon. 

The voyage was dehghtful, and, of course, Shackleton gave 
a lecture on board in aid of a nautical charity. The chair was 
to have been taken by Mr. de Navarro (the husband of Mary 
Anderson), who was going to America to visit his mother, whose 
death was made known to him by wireless the day before the 
lecture. A few hours after hearing the news Shackleton sought 
out his friend, who writes as follows : 

" He appeared in my cabin, the vibrant voice tuned to a 
low key. I expressed my regret at having to fail him. ' It 
doesn't matter,' he answered quietly, ' I have come to do some- 
thing for you and to ask you to do something for me : there will 
be no chairman to-morrow night. That for you. For me,' 
he hestitated a moment. * I want you to come to the lecture.' 
Amazed at the request, I was silent. He went on, ' I'll put 
you behind the screen where no one will see you and where you 
will see and hear all.' Though deeply touched I told him that 
I preferred to remain in my cabin. * No,' he interrupted 
warmly, ' that is exactly what I want you to avoid. I want 
you to come and do violence to yourself at once, without losing 
time, and so begin building up the strength necessary to bear 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 178 

what you will have to face when you land.' The persuasive 
words, the searching eyes, the solicitous insistence, I had not 
the power to resist. The lecture ! a disciplinary struggle, 
rousing examples of courage, optimism, endurance in Antarctic 
solitudes (a seeming personal appeal in each), a sense of self- 
reliance. And the landing ! If it was not attended by the 
measure of fortitude he had hoped for, at least in supreme 
moments the face of a viking with a mother's heart came be- 
tween me and my grief." 

It is good to have this testimony of a man in a high degree 
sensitive and sympathetic himself, to the vein of tenderness and 
delicacy which Shackleton's character contained hidden alto- 
gether from the notice of ordinary people. 

The American lecturing tour began in Washington on 
26th March in circumstances parallel to those of lectures in 
the European capitals. The Shackletons were entertained by 
Mr. and Mrs. James Bryce at the British Embassy ; they were 
received at White House by President Taft, who later presented to 
Shackleton the Hubbard Gold Medal of the National Geographic 
Society at a crowded meeting of 5000 persons who listened 
with enthusiasm* to the explorer's lecture. He visited Miss 
Wilkes, the daughter of the only great American Antarctic 
explorer. Admiral Wilkes, who was a contemporary and rival 
of Sir James Ross. At New York, Admiral Peary presided 
at the lecture to the American Geographical Society and 
presented the CuUum Gold Medal, while the stay in the metro- 
polis was glorified by the magnificent hospitality of the New 
York Four Hundred. At Philadelphia the Geographical 
Society, under the presidency of Mr. H. G. Bryant, Peary's 
main supporter, provided another great and hearty audience. 

At Boston there was appreciation and a large hall, but it was 
not full for Tetrazzini was singing, not this time in his honour, 
but as a rival at the Opera House. The students of Harvard 
went mad over Shackleton, who never forgot the fervour of 
the College yell. But then the tide suddenly fell ; the smaUer 
towns of New England in which it was arranged that he 
should lecture made no response. For a night or two he spoke 
to empty benches, and then discovered that the ground had 


not been prepared by the lecture agents. There had been 
almost no advertising; he arrived in one town in the same 
train as the posters announcing his lecture, which should have 
been adorning the walls for a week before. This was more 
than Shackleton could stand ; he took firm action after plain 
speech, and interrupting his American programme he crossed 
to Canada and spent a few delightful days with his wife as the 
guests of the Governor-General and Lady Grey. 

On the forenoon of the day when he was to lecture at Ottawa 
he was stopped as he had often been by an important -looking 
personage with a paper in his hand. " Sir Ernest Shackleton ? " 
inquired the stranger. Shackleton, recognizing the leader of a 
deputation, acknowledged his identity with all modesty and his 
most attractive smile. " That's all," said the stranger, thrusting 
into his hand a writ issued at the instance of his American 
agents prohibiting him from exhibiting his kinematograph 
films in Canada ! The Canadian Court quashed the injunction 
and the lecture went well and smoothly, the chair being 
occupied by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the eloquent Prime Minister. 
The Canadian poet Robert Service had long been a favourite 
of Shackleton, who said : 

" Often I have quoted Service, because he is the one man 
in the world who brings home the glamour and the mystery 
of the unknown. Reading his poems one can imderstand how 
Canada claims men, and how they ever must follow her lure." 

The Shackletons returned to the States, and for a fortnight 
they remained in New York or Philadelphia, meeting people 
of importance and interest, dining one day with Mr. Choate 
to meet Lord Kitchener, on another occasion delighting the 
Press Club with an impromptu speech which Mr. Jerome, the 
great lawyer, commended highly, saying that it must have cost 
much care and labour to prepare ! On another occasion 
the limcheon party consisted entirely of the most successful 
commercial men in New York, milHonaires who did not think 
their time wasted in making the acquaintance of the young 

Shackleton was very much disgruntled, as his new friends 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 175 

would say, by the breakdown of his plans, though the fault 
was not his, and at times he was tempted to throw up his 
Western tour and return home. But he stuck to it all the 
same. One day in New York he walked back to his hotel in 
pouring rain from a place 4 miles away, and when expostu- 
lated with, explained that he couldn't find a taxi, wouldn't 
go in the subway, and thought the tramcars looked dangerous ; 
in fact, he exemplified unconsciously his preference to rely on 
himself in an emergency. 

The Western tour, on the advice of a new agent, Mr. Lee 
Keedick, who soon became a valued friend, was cut down to 
three weeks, for the lecturing season was coming to an end. 
Shackleton mistrusted the conditions likely to be met with, 
and was glad when Mr. and Mrs. Craig Lippincott of Phila- 
delphia insisted on Lady Shackleton remaining as their guest. 
He left her there in all the luxury that wealth and taste 
enable cultured Americans to provide, while he faced the 
unknown with his usual determination to see it through. The 
lectures took place in some of the chief centres of the States 
of Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, and 
Minnesota. In some places, as in Da5rton, Ohio, where 
there was a splendidly-organized reception, and in Chicago, 
everything went well. In others there was bad manage- 
ment locally and great apathy ; in one huge hall, seated 
for 4500, the audience nimibered only 100. In one 
hall the electrician refused to put the lights up and 
down, because he said he wanted to listen to the lecture 
and not to be disturbed. The lantemists were sometimes 
incompetent and impudent, and the lecturer was thoroughly 
disgusted, and in the phrase which recent successes had made 
a great stranger in his vocabulary, he declared that he was 
"sick of it all." There was at least one gleam of sunshine 
in the West, in the good cheer at the University of Michigan 
at Ann Arbor, which Professor W. H. Hobbs refers to in these 
terms : 

" I was deputed by the student committee in charge of his 
lecture to meet him. I found him at first almost grouchy over 


the reception he was having. While people in Europe had 
been turned away from his lectures for lack of space, he had 
been speaking to small audiences in the States, and these 
lacked enthusiasm. This was due to the Cook fiasco. To 
use a slang expression, the American public was ' fed up ' 
with polar exploration. He said to me, ' The American people 
have no sense of humour,' and you know what a keen sense 
of it he had. But a surprise was in store for him, for here in 
Ann Arbor a packed house awaited him. I could see the 
change in his temperament the moment he looked out on them. 
He first threw on the screen a map of the Antarctic with the 
' Farthest South ' of earlier explorers, and pointing to that 
of Cook, he turned to the audience and remarked dryly, ' No 
relation.' Again, to use American slang, 'the roof rose ' with 
the instant roar of applause. I could see his face light up, 
and I knew he was mentally modifying his earlier declaration 
concerning American sense of humour. At a dinner before 
the lecture, he had sparkled in telling us stories of the winter 
in camp on M'Murdo Sound at the winter quarters, but he had 
indicated much concern over the operator of the lantern, 
evidently having had some unpleasant experiences. When 
Sir Ernest was putting on the wonderful ^' movies ' of the 
penguins at the close of his address, he chanced to glance up 
at the balcony to the lantern, and was thunderstruck to see 
the roll of precious film on which the success of his remaining 
lectures depended, instead of being wound up on the reel, piled 
on the floor in a loose pile already visible above the balustrade. 
He stopped his talk and shot some language at the operator, 
which had all the force if not the words of profanity. Had a 
spark from the lantern got into the pile we should have had a 
conflagration. I rushed up to the gallery so as to shoo the 
crowd away as the meeting broke up. We found among 
the students a former expert on lantern work and with his 
help got the precious film back on the reel without serious 
damage. Hardly was this done when news came of the death 
of King Edward, and I learned through the effect on Sir Ernest 
the meaning of the sovereign in Great Britain to a loyal citizen. 
He was terribly depressed and felt the loss most keenly." 

It was with real pleasure that the Shackletons, after meeting 
at Chicago, found themselves in Canada. Shackleton was once 
more in the full Hght of popularity. The lecture at Winnipeg 
on 2ist May was given in his best style to an audience of 1200 
enthusiastic citizens. He visited the hospital where his sister 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 177 

Eleanor had been working as a nurse, and her friends greeted 
him the more warmly because of his striking resemblance to 
her. The President of the Canadian Pacific Railway placed 
his private car, the Nanoose, with a clever French cook, at the 
disposal of the hero of the day and his wife ; and in this they 
travelled for eight days, being hitched on to the train each 
day and left in a siding convenient to the place of lecturing 
each night. So Brandon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, and Van- 
couver were visited in state — everywhere delighted audiences 
and good houses (at Vancouver the proceeds were £240 for one 
lecture), and everywhere amusing incidents. At one town, 
when Shackleton was waiting for his wife at a shop door, a 
young man said, " You're not doing anjrthing. Hold my horse 
for a minute, will you ? " " Certainly," was the reply. The 
minute turned out to be fifteen, and on being thanked with 
" Next time I meet you I hope you'll come for a drink, what's 
your name ? " the explorer said, " Thanks. Shackleton." The 
young man beamed and said, " Then I'd Hke to shake," and 
shook hands cordially. There was nothing of the stuck-up 
EngUshman, so hateful to the western Canadian, about Ernest 

At Winnipeg, on the way back, he gave another lecture in 
the largest hall, where the audience included 1200 soldiers in 
uniform and 2000 civilians ; the proceeds were given to the 
Children's Hospital where his sister worked. Tired but glowing 
with satisfaction, the little party travelled east, too tired, 
indeed, to lengthen their journey by a day to see Niagara. 
Sir Thomas Shaughnessy entertained them in princely fashion 
at Montreal, and in his private car, Killarney, they took the 
train to Quebec, where on loth June they sailed for home in 
the Allan liner Virginian. 

The Canadian trip had suggested the idea of undertaking 
exploration in the Arctic lands to the north, but nothing 
came of it ; the contact with American business men had 
suggested openings for commercial enterprise which, later, led 
to disappointment ; but for the time the main satisfaction 
was that the western visit was over, and a long holiday at 
Sheringham with the children occupied all the remainder 


of the summer. As an example of the spring and vivacity 
of his nature, after all he had come through, a thoroughly 
characteristic incident may be given in Lady Shackleton's 
words : 

" One afternoon when in my room at Sheringham I heard 
that ' an old gentleman, an uncle of Sir Ernest's,' had called 
to see me. I went into the drawing-room and saw a shabbily- 
dressed, bent old man, with a grey beard and hair, who gruffly 
said * How d'you do ? ' His appearance was so unprepossessing 
that I could hardly beUeve he was a brother of my dear, dis- 
tinguished-looking father-in-law. But I shook hands politely, 
summoned up courage to look him in the eyes — ^it was Ernest ! 
He had gone to Clarkson's in London to be ' made up,' entering 
into the part so thoroughly that he asked a porter to help him 
along the platform and into the train ; his only regret was that 
he had to throw away his cigarette, as it made his moustache 
come unstuck. 

" The children were on the sands and we went to see them 
first, ' Uncle ' hobbhng along on my arm ; then to the golf- 
Unks to lie in wait for various relatives, who were as com- 
pletely taken -in cis I had been." 

One can imagine the light-hearted laughter. The cheery 
spirit lasted through an autumn lecturing tour in Scotland, 
which was superintended by Mr. A. C. Wade, who travelled 
with him and took a sympathetic pride in the lectures and in 
the lecturer's personality. His recollections of the tour are 
full of characteristic touches ; we give a sample : 

" We visited, together, the fashionable health resorts in 
Scotland, which at that season of the year are filled with 
notabilities from all parts of the world, and everywhere Sir 
Ernest was greeted by large and distinguished audiences. 
The three weeks' tour he looked upon as a happy hoUday. He 
played golf on some of the most famous Scottish links, which 
he greatly enjoyed. He was full of life, and always plajdng 
practical jokes. He had a keen sense of humour, and had he 
not been a great explorer, given the opportunity, I think he 
might have made an equally great actor. One evening, coming 
ofi the platform, after having given an exceptionally successful 
lecture, he rushed up to me in the sideroom, clutched me by the 
shoulder with one hand, and with eyes ablaze with passion, 

POPULARITY. 1909-1910 179 

said, ' Wade ! did you see that man with the heavy drooping 
moustache in the third row of the Stalls — that man is my 
enemy. I expected every minute he would contradict some- 
thing I had said.' Then, mysteriously taking out of the tail- 
pocket of his dress-coat a small revolver, which he had evidently 
carefully covered with his handkerchief, so that only the 
muzzle could be seen, said, ' Ah ! but I was ready for him, 
had he done so, I would have shot the beggar at sight. ' Naturally 
I was somewhat alarmed at this sudden outburst, which put 
Sir Ernest in the best of spirits for the rest of the evening at 
the success of his melodramatic acting. Some nights later, a 
friend suggested I should join him in a cigarette, which he fired 
at me from a toy pistol ; then it was I recognized Shackleton's 
new plaything — ^the deadly revolver with which he was going 
so ruthlessly to annihilate his imaginary enemy." 

The year included yet one more big lecture tour on the 
Continent. Leaving Lady Shackleton in a furnished house at 
Sheringham which rejoiced in the name of Mainsail-Haul, 
reminiscent of the sea, Shackleton spent the whole month of 
November in Germany and the adjoining countries, delivering 
twenty-five lectures in German, of which he had now acquired 
a practical mastery. There was much travelling, for he visited 
all the towns of importance from the Rhine to Posen and 
Konigsberg, and in addition Vienna, Prague, and Gratz in 
Austria, and Bale and Zurich in Switzerland. Many of the 
audiences were large and some were enthusiastic ; but on the 
whole the results were less satisfactory than in the spring tour. 
Shackleton noted a distinct change in the German attitude 
towards British visitors, and his letters to his wife show that 
he was often working against the handicap of an imcongenial 
though scarcely unfriendly environment. He was tired of the 
trip long before it was done, and thoroughly glad to be home 
again early in December. It had been a tremendous year 
of travelling, talking, and receiving honours and hospitality; 
but the golden harvest of the lectures fell far short of expecta- 
tion, and the light of common day was coming in as the year of 
glory was fading away. 

The public was never disappointed in Shackleton, and the 
impression of his gifts as a lecturer left on keen and dispassionate 


observers may be judged by the words of his agent, Mr. Gerald 
Christy : 

" In the course of my business career it has been my good 
fortune to become acquainted with all the great explorers, 
and I am happy to say that they became my personal friends. 
Shackleton was one of the most appreciative, kindly, and con- 
siderate of men. I knew his temperament well. At times 
he could be a little hasty ; and when he was so, that wonderful 
command of English that was his had a chance to evince 
itself ! But his hastiness made the man more lovable, because 
the very next instant the fear that he had given offence showed 
in a contrition that was touching in its way. I vividly re- 
member the square-set, sturdy, forceful figure that he was 
when he came to see me v/ith reference to accepting engage- 
ments for lectures. He was diffident as to his powers as a 
speaker, but he said that if he had the chance he felt tolerably 
confident that practice would see him through. It did ; and 
as a lecturer I doubt if Ernest Shackleton has ever been ex- 
celled. He went from town to town in all parts of the British 
Isles and to the big cities on the Continent. Not an audience 
was addressed by him that he did not thrill and amaze and 
from which he did not evoke admiration, not for himself, but 
for the band of heroes he felt it so much a privilege to lead. 
He had a descriptive power without parallel on the platform — 
at any rate, so I thought." 

Mr. Lee Keedick, from his observations in America, corro- 
borated this in all points and added : 

*' During my whole experience as a lecture manager I 
have never known any one who could so quickly win the con- 
fidence and arouse the interest of newspaper men as Sir Ernest 
did. The newspapers would often send poets and other Hterary 
men to interview him, and although at first they may have 
taken only a mild interest in the Antarctic, he made such an 
impression upon them that they would leave thoroughly 
convinced that Antarctic exploration was the most splendid 
adventure in the world." 



" Then, welcome each rebuff 
That turns earth's smoothness rough, 
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go ! 
Be our joys three-parts pain ! 
Strive, and hold cheap the strain ; 
Learn, nor account the pang ; dare, never grudge the throe. 

For thence, — a paradox 
Which comforts while it mocks, — 
Shall Ufe succeed in that it seems to fail : 
What I aspired to be. 
And was not, comforts me : 
A brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale." 

Robert Browning. 



UNREST. 1911-1918 

" I cannot rest from travel. I will drink 
Life to the lees : all times I have enjoy'd 
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those 
That loved me, and alone ; on shore and when 
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 
Vext the dim sea : I am become a name . . . 
How dull it is to pause, to make an end. 
To rust, unbumish'd, not to shine in use ! 
As tho' to breathe were life." 


THE world's applause had been pleasant, but the year 
of lecture tours had not proved the financial success 
which Shackleton's fond hopes had pictured it. His 
expenses had been very heavy, his liberality had been unchecked 
by prudence, and at the end of 1910 he found himself no nearer 
to wealth than when he left the Nimrod. With his opportunities 
another man might easily have laid by the nucleus of permanent 
comfort ; but would another man have made his opportunities ? 
We need not enter fully into the various business ventures 
into which Shackleton poured the whole force of his person- 
ality for nearly three years. They were all fine, attractive 
adventures, but their aim was a pecuniary return large enough 
to ensure the future of himself and his family in luxury, and 
that they did not achieve. It may be that a man essentially 
fitted to be an explorer is necessarily lacking in the instincts 
which lead to success in business, and is attracted more by the 
potentiality of wealth or of usefulness in schemes than by the 
prosaic probabilities on which sober men of business build up 
a fortune. It may be that he could not select subordinates 

or associates in business with the sure insight which had served 



him so well in exploration. There may be many other reasons, 
but the fact is that Shackleton had the soul of a poet, not of a 
trader ; he could rise to the height of any great idea, but he 
could never sink to the important littlenesses of method and 
routine which count for so much in business. He was often ill- 
advised and ill-served, but he never tried to take an unfair 
advantage, and he always resisted the continual solicitations 
of promoters of speculative public companies to allow his name 
to appear in their lists of directors. In many ways Sir Ernest 
Shackleton in the city was like Ernest Shackleton on the 
Hoghion Tower, struggling with more moral successes than 
failures against a strange and uncongenial environment, and the 
experience had its effect on his subsequent career. 

In the autumn of 1910 Scott set out in the Terra Nova 
with the largest and best equipped expedition which ever left 
for the Antarctic, and Shackleton gave him all the help that 
his old leader desired. Amundsen sailed in the Fram ostensibly 
for a five-years' drift which was to take him across the North 
Pole from Bering Strait ; but at Madeira, where he called as 
everyone beheved on his way to round Cape Horn, he electrified 
the world and his own men by announcing that his aim was 
the South Pole. 

Bruce had issued the prospectus of an expedition to cross 
the Antarctic continent from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, 
taking the South Pole by the way ; and in Germany, Lieutenant 
Filchner also had a plan well in hand for an expedition to the 
interior of Antarctica by way of the Weddell Sea ; moreover, 
the Japanese Lieutenant Shirase was known to be on the 
point of starting for King Edward Land. There had never 
been a time when so many aspirants to polar honours were 
making simultaneously for the far south, and Shackleton felt 
it terribly hard to stay at home. He could not go out in a 
subordinate capacity, so he controlled his soul to patience and 
resolved that in a couple of years, when the gold mine concession 
he was himting for in Hungary had made him rich, he would 
set out once more. 

In the early months of 1911, Shackleton was often on the 
Continent on business enterprises, giving a lecture occasion- 

UNREST. 1911-1913 185 

ally in German, in which he was now proficient ; and backing 
up Filchner on the platform with appeals that greatly helped 
that young adventurer in getting his funds together. Later 
in the spring, Dr. Douglas Mawson and Capt. J. K. Davis, 
old comrades on the Nimrod, came to England to seek funds 
in support of the Australian expedition to the lands dis- 
covered south of Australia seventy years before by Dumont 
D'Urville and Wilkes, and Shackleton spared time from his 
exacting business engagements to help them with advice and 
introductions. When the prospects of British support for 
the Australian expedition were at their darkest, Shackleton 
wrote a strong letter to a London daily paper, setting forth 
the merits of the expedition and the tried ability of its leader ; 
this occurred at a favourable moment, and contributions came 
in which ensured the future of the expedition and the purchase 
of the fine Dundee whaler Aurora, a sister ship of the Terra 

The Shackletons had now decided to take a house in London, 
and they were busy in seeing to its decoration and furnishing 
for several months, a work into which Shackleton threw himself 
with characteristic energy and thoroughness. He was fastidious 
in matters of taste and finish, and was always planning little 
surprises for his wife, such as la5dng parquet surrounds to set 
off the drawing-room carpet, or designing some delicate 
harmony of paper and paint. They settled into 7 Heath view 
Gardens, Putney Heath, in April, when the outlook over 
Roehampton Common was at its loveliest in the spring of an 
exceptionally beautiful year. 

No one appeared happier or more contented with his lot, 
but the voice of the wild was always calling, and when he 
stopped to think the call grew strong. Still, for a time it was 
stifled. His old school-friend, Mr. John Q. Rowett, allowed 
him to use his of&ce as a city address, and there was much 
going to and fro between London and Budapest. He started 
on one of these journeys on the morning of 15th July, expecting 
to be back in ten days, a fortnight before anything of the kind 
was expected, but was met at Boulogne by a telegram announc- 
ing the birth of his second son. The business was at a critical 


stage and he had to go on. Nothing came of it, though that 
was not known for some months, but the Hungarian friend 
who was acting with him, Mr. Sandor von Hegediis, became 
godfather to the newborn Edward. The home-life of the family 
at Putney Heath or in summer quarters at Eastbourne filled 
a large place in his life, and he was great in the invention of 
" surprises," sparing no trouble when the season came round 
to get himself up as the most realistic Father Christmas who 
ever came through a snowstorm to waken small children in 
their beds on Christmas Eve. 

Early in 1912 Shackleton's thoughts were turned strongly 
to the south. He pictured Amundsen and Scott at the Pole. 
He pictured Mawson making his way to Ad61ie Land in the 
Aurora and Filchner forcing a passage into the Weddell Sea 
in the Deutschland, and the thoughts were envious, we fear. 
In a letter to a great friend in New Zealand, dated 12th January, 
he says : 

" I owe you a letter for a long time, but somehow I am 
always scuttling about the coimtry and get little time to write. 
I wish I could get another Expedition and be away from all 
business worries. All the troubles of the South are nothing to 
day after day of business. My wife and the three children are 
well. I see little of them, though. I suppose we shall soon 
hear of Scott. I am inclined to think that we will hear from 
Amundsen first. I am looking forward to news." 

On 9th March the news arrived that Amundsen had reached 
the South Pole on 14th December 1911, and no one paid a more 
generous tribute to the successful explorer than did Shackleton, 
who had failed to anticipate him in 1909 by so narrow a margin. 
In an article in a newspaper he says : 

" The outstanding feature, to my mind, of the whole of this 
great journey is that Amundsen made for himself an entirely 
new route. Leaving his winter quarters he pushed south over 
an unknown part of the Barrier surface, and instead of journey- 
ing westward to go up the great Beardmore Glacier, he still 
kept his sledges pointing due south. . . . The attainment of 
the geographical South Pole has been the ambition of every 

Photo.\ iSpeaight Ltd. 

Lady Shackleton and the Children, 1914. 

Face p. 186. 

UNREST. 1911-1918 187 

explorer, without exception, who ever proposed to make an 
inland journey towards that point ; and to that end, I am 
convinced, all matters of detailed scientific work would be of 
secondary consideration. . . . The discovery of the South Pole 
will not be the end of Antarctic exploration. The next work 
of importance to be done in the Antarctic is the determination 
of the whole coast-line of the Antarctic continent, and then a 
trans-continental journey from sea to sea crossing the pole." 

The Terra Nova reached New 2fealand early in April, and 
reported that Scott had not returned from the Southern journey 
when the ship was forced to leave M'Murdo Sound on 7th March. 

There was a renewal of public interest in the Antarctic, and 
every spare evening in Shackleton's busy life was seized upon 
for lectures. He delivered two in the Guildhall, and the Guild of 
Freemen presented him with an ornate illuminated address of 
thanks which was handed to him by the Lady Mayoress. He 
lectured to various schools and societies, spoke in aid of in- 
numerable charities, opened bazaars and flower-shows, though 
he protested, to the obvious pleasure of his hearers, that he was 
" more at home opening a tin of sardines." 

He went much into society, cultivating the acquaintance of 
wealthy business men, and he was so prominent in the public eye 
that one sometimes heard the remark that Shackleton lost no 
opportunity of advertising himself. A little incident of this 
period bearing on his essential modesty was known to no one but 
himself and his publishers, and has never got into print before. 
A condensed narrative of the Nimrod expedition was brought 
out at a very low price for use as a reading book in schools ; it 
appeared with the head of a Greek warrior on the cover and 
" The Hero Readers " as the name of the series. This was so 
displeasing to Shackleton, who hated to think that any one 
should suppose that he was claiming to be a hero, that he insisted 
on the cover being changed and the fly-leaf with " The Hero 
Readers " removed before he allowed the edition to be sold. 

The disaster to the White Star liner Titanic, in which 1500 
lives were lost in consequence of the ship striking an iceberg 
in the North Atlantic, thrilled the world in the spring of 1912 
with a horror even greater than that which attended the deliber- 


ate atrocities of the Great War, for generations of peace and 
safety had drawn a veil of forgetfulness over the terrible possi- 
bilities of life. Shackleton took a prominent part in the in- 
quiries held into the cause of the disaster, and the best means of 
preventing similar events in the future. His evidence at the 
public investigation was clear and forceful. He spoke very 
strongly as to the danger of nmning ships at high speed in a 
fog, and declared that no shipmaster would do so if he did not 
believe that it was the strong desire of the owner that he should 
take great risks rather than lose time. He also pointed out 
that a look-out man on the mast cannot see small icebergs at 
night even in clear weather as well as if he were stationed close 
to the water-line, this being a fact that the voyages of the 
Discovery, the Morning, and the Nimrod had impressed on his 
mind ineffaceably. 

Two months in summer were spent at Seaford, where Sir 
Ernest and Lady Shackleton played golf diligently, and the 
strain of life in London was relaxed for a time. He welcomed 
Amundsen on his visit to London in November ; and when the 
hero of the South Pole read his paper to the Royal Geographical 
Society, Shackleton proposed the vote of thanks with character- 
istic heartiness, acknowledging that he would have preferred 
if the triumph had been achieved by a British explorer, but 
recognizing the fine qualities which Amundsen and his men 
had shown in the plan and execution of their journey. 

The ignis fatuus of Hungarian gold mines had flitted beyond 
the horizon, but towards the end of the year Shackleton had 
been persuaded that his long cherished little cigarette business 
would blossom into a great fortune if it could be successfully 
transplanted in America. In a few months he would see himself 
secure for the future, his debts, incurred largely in tr5dng to 
help others whose misfortunes were greater than his own, could 
then be paid and leave him free to organize the expedition 
on which his heart was now firmly set. There had been some 
talk of applying for the position of an Elder Brother of the 
Trinity House, carrying a salary of £1000 per annum ; but it 
was put aside (not now the days when he longed to be " a captain 
with £300 a year "). He said, " What good would a thousand a 

UNREST. 1911-1918 189 

year be to us ? " He turned a deaf ear to the urgent request 
of the Unionist Party organizers that he would stand as a 
parhamentary candidate once more. 

He went to New Yoilc in December and had a strenuous 
time there, Uving hard night and day in business, and in the 
restless excitement of the richest and gayest circle of society. 
Here his popularity was unboimded, and his sensitively sym- 
pathetic nature, finding something in common with all that is 
human, led him into an apparent adaptation to an environment 
that was really foreign to his deepest feelings. 

News of great interest as bearing on his future work came 
from the far South in the early weeks of 1913. FHchner's 
expedition had returned to South Georgia after having forced 
its way through the ice-encumbered Weddell Sea to 'j']° 48' S., 
finding a new coast named Prinz Luitpold Land beyond Bruce 's 
Coats Land ; but a landing was frustrated and the Deutschland, 
beset in the ice in March, was drifted northward for 264 days, 
including the whole winter, passing a short distance to the 
east of the charted position of Morrell Land with no sign of it 
to be found, and late in November being set free by the ice 
breaking up in latitude 63° 40' S. 

Grievous news came from the other side of the Antarctic 
continent. On loth February 1913 the Terra Nova, which had 
gone down to M'Murdo Sound to bring back Scott's expedition, 
returned to New Zealand and reported that the Southern Party, 
travelling by the Beardmore Glacier, had reached the Pole in 
1912, a month after Amundsen, but on the return Edgar Evans 
had died on the Glacier and the others had been overtaken 
by a series of heavy blizzards, and while confined to their tent 
by bad weather, Scott, Wilson, and Bowers had perished from 
want of fuel only 11 miles from the depot where plenty awaited 
them. The circumstances were so closely parallel to those in 
which Shackleton had so nearly lost his race with Death in 
1909 that the contrast in the result could not fail to impress 
him profoundly. 

On his return from America in February, Shackleton 
lost no opportunity of testifying to his respect and admiration 
for his old chief, and did his part in helping to raise the 


tremendous wave of sympathy and sorrow which lifted the 

British people to an unprecedented height of hero-worship. A 
large fimd was raised in a few months and most liberal pro- 
vision made for the future of Scott's wife, son, mother, and 
sisters, and for the dependants of several others who perished 
on the fatal return from the Pole. It was held then that the 
heroic fortitude of Scott, Wilson, and Bowers, the noble self- 
sacrifice of Gates, who walked out to his death in order to in- 
crease his comrades' chance of escape, were deeds unheard of 
in an age of degenerate love of ease and pleasure, and, therefore, 
worthy of this imique memorial. A few years later the nation 
learned with amazement that heroism no less magnificent was 
latent in every British youth, and that at the front, in the 
Great War, men were being sentenced to death by court- 
martial if they failed to rise to heights which, seen for the first 
time after ages of peace and comfort, appeared almost too 
lofty for human attainment. 

Soon came news from the Aurora that Frank Wild was 
safe home from the Queen Mary Land which he discovered, 
while Mawson remained behind in Ad61ie Land where two of 
his companions had perished. But Shackleton was off again to 
New York in the Mauretania for six weeks' strenuous work 
on his tobacco business, from which he confidently expected 
an early return of thousands a year. There was little time on 
this occasion for social dissipation, but enough for this cable to 
his wife on the anniversary of their wedding day : 

" Happy receiving yours. Have not forgotten the day. 
Expect sail 23rd. Business growing rapidly. Fond love. 

" Ernest." 

When he got home the air was still full of Antarctic memories 
and projects. Davis was in London struggUng hard to raise 
subscriptions to enable him to take the Aurora south again for 
the relief of Mawson ; Wild was in London full of his year in 
Queen Mary Land, eager to find a place on a new expedition, 
and as devoted as ever to his old " Boss." Many of the members 
of the Scott expedition had returned, and Shacldeton was closely 

UNREST. 1911-1918 191 

in touch with them. On 9th June he took the chair at a 
great meeting in the Queen's Hall, when Commander E. R. G. R. 
Evans, R.N., Scott's second in command, delivered his lecture. 
Here Shackleton, who had no opportunity when the memorial 
meetings had been held at the Royal Geographical Society 
earlier in the year, paid a fine tribute to the memory of his old 
chief, to his dear old friend Wilson, and to the other heroes of 
the fatal return journey from the Pole, and he summed up the 
moral by showing the bright side of human tragedy in the words, 
" Death is a very small thing and knowledge very great." 

In the course of the summer James Murray and G. Marston 
produced a little book, Antarctic Days, recounting some of the 
lighter aspects of the Nimrod expedition, and telling many good 
stories of life in the hut at Cape Royds, a few of them sly digs 
at Shackleton himself, who wrote in a cheery preface : 

"All polar explorers are optimists with vivid imaginations, 
and optimists with vivid imaginations lay themselves open to 
criticism, not to be expected or deserved by those who are 
* ta'en in earth's paddock as her prize.' ... If I had been asked 
to contribute to the book I certainly would have tried, as the 
Americans say, * to get my own back ' on the authors who were 
my acquaintances in 1907, and who, in 1913 — I hope they 
will agree with me — are my friends." 

In such an atmosphere it was impossible for Shackleton to 
contemplate living on in the pursuit of wealth so elusive as 
that which always danced before his sanguine vision just beyond 
his grasp, and he gave some attention, as he put it, to " nursing 
millionaires who could put down £100,000 if they cared to," 
for at last in his confidential correspondence, when worried, 
tired, and depressed, he acknowledged, " I suppose I am reaUy 
no good for anything but the Antarctic." One wealthy friend 
was so far interested as to give an Antarctic dinner at a famous 
restaurant to all the available men who had been in the far 
South. The table was transformed into a picture of the 
Antarctic with artificial snow and real ice, where large models 
of the Nimrod and the Aurora were placed at the edge of an ice- 
barrier thickly peopled by penguins, and Marston, the Antarctic 


artist, painted special menu cards. It was a gay gathering, 
enlivened towards the close by songs from Harry Lauder ; but, 
alas ! the rich and kindly host did not pursue his hospitality to 
the point of providing transportation for his guests to revisit 
the haunts they longed for. 

Shackleton gave many lectures and assisted at many public * 
functions that summer, and his friends saw plainly that the long 
period of unrest was drawing to a close, the lure of the Antarctic 
was overcoming the excitement of city life, and hints as to an 
impending expedition dropped from him whenever he spoke. 
He had one happy week-end alone on the Norfolk Broads in a 
yacht, with his wife and Frank Wild. He was tired of the 
towns, where he could not feel the freshness of the winds nor 
see the stars — the blaze of sky signs on the farther bank of 
the Thames in the year before the war, hid even Orion and 
left Sirius himself an inconspicuous spark. 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 

" Weary of myself, and sick of asking 
What I am, and what I ought to be. 
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me 
Forwards, forwards, o'er the starUt sea. 
And a look of passionate desire 
O'er the sea and to the stars I send ; 
' Ye who from my childhood up have calmed me. 
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end 1 ' 
Ah ! once more I cried, ' Ye stars, ye waters 
On my heart your mighty charm renew ; 
Still, still let me as I gaze upon you 
Feel my soul becoming vast, like you ! ' " 

Matthew Arnold. 

BOTH Poles had been reached, and one of the greatest 
incitements to geographical exploration had passed 
away; but Shackleton had been brooding for years 
on his scheme for crossing the Antarctic continent from sea 
to sea, and he knew that it was a big enough adventure to call 
forth all his powers. He felt, too, that after years of bafflement 
in business, where every hopeful enterprise led only to worry 
and disappointment, he must free his soul, returning to his old 
ideals. His friend Dr. Bruce had not succeeded in getting 
support for his project of crossing from the Weddell Sea to the 
Ross Sea, and although he had priority in the published plan, 
he had not succeeded in raising funds during the six years his 
scheme had been before the public, and with the generosity 
of his nature he gave way to Shackleton's greater chance of 
success. This he did the more willingly because a foreign 
rival was in the field. Dr. Konig, with the support of the 
Vienna Geographical Society and the assistance of Lieut. 


Filchner, had put forward plans for an oceanographical and 
exploring expedition to South Georgia and the Weddell Sea 
under the Austro-Hungarian flag. Neither Bruce nor Shackle- 
ton could bear the idea of leaving the field free to a foreigner, 
and Shackleton used the fear of foreign rivalry to stimulate 
interest in his expedition as he had done before, and this time 
with a greater probability of interference from abroad than had 
befallen him from Belgium when he set out in the Nimrod. 

The week-end on the Broads with Frank Wild in the 
summer of 1913 had shown him his second in command ready 
to join him at a moment's notice, and from that time every- 
thing gave place to preparations for a new expedition. Cautious 
friends dissuaded him, of course. They pointed out that second 
polar ventures by men who had led one successful expedition 
had usually resulted in failure, sometimes in disaster. They 
urged on him, as they had urged on Filchner, the folly of taking 
elaborate equipment for a land journey into the Weddell Sea 
where no safe landing place had ever been sighted, and where 
no two voyagers had found similar conditions of ice to prevail. 
They suggested that a preliminary expedition for the explora- 
tion of the coast by sea should first be made, and a future land 
expedition based on the results which might be ascertained. 
But it was too late. Shackleton had made up his mind, and 
whatever misgivings geographers might have as to the prospects 
of the venture, there was agreement on one point : if any 
man could carry through such an expedition, Shackleton was 
the man who could do it. 

He himself had no doubts as to what he ought to do. The 
future had gripped him, and his confidence and enthusiasm 
had impressed a wealthy man so deeply that the funds were 
aU but in the bank. Not quite, however, for the promised 
patron was a Spiritualist who regulated his life by the revela- 
tions of a medium, and the medium for month after month 
advised waiting for light. Meanwhile Shackleton had rented 
an ofiice at 4 New Burlington Street, and had taken many 
important steps towards the completion of the plans of the 
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. During the summer 
and autumn, business matters had been arranged so as not to 

Sir Ernest Shackleton, aged 40, in Sledging Dress. 

Face p. 194 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 195 

interfere much with expedition work ; a large sum from one 
of his enterprises was at last in sight, almost in hand, and as 
the house at Putney Heath was too far from the centre of 
activity the Shackletons took a new house, ii Vicarage Gate, 
Kensington, confidently expecting that the difference in rent 
would be more than made up by the reduction in taxicab fares. 

The first public announcement was made in a letter to 
The Times on 29th December 1913, when it was stated that 
the generosity of a friend had made the expedition possible. 
The immediate result was the offer of their services on the 
expedition of nearly five thousand people, from whom only 
fifty could be taken. Soon afterwards a curious friend noted 
in his office three large drawers labelled respectively " Mad,'* 
" Hopeless," and " Possible " in which the letters of apphcation 
had been roughly classified. The generous friend found that 
his spiritualistic adviser wotdd not sanction his helping the 
funds of the expedition, and in the beginning of 1914, when 
the return of the Australian Antarctic Expedition under Dr. 
Mawson was reviving public interest in the South Polar regions, 
Shackleton found himself with arrangements well in progress 
and no money to go on with. He would have liked to meet 
with one or two like-minded with himself who would find 
money or furnish guarantees to enable him to proceed quietly 
as in the case of the Nimrod, but he had only secured two large 
sums, gifts in his belief, though subsequently repayment was 
required and had to be made. The situation which now 
faced him was serious in the extreme. He must either find 
£50,000 in a few weeks or acknowledge that his expedition 
was a fiasco. The plan of the expedition was briefly this. 
Shackleton with a small party was to land in the south of 
Luitpold Land in the Weddell Sea, and march to the South 
Pole, continuing thence by the Beardmore Glacier to the Ross 
Sea, where the second ship of the expedition would be in 
waiting to bring him home. The proposed route is shown on 
the map on p. 196. 

Two ships had been secured. The Aurora of Mawson 's 
expedition, which was believed to be in good seaworthy 
condition, would be available in AustraUa for the Ross Sea 


party, and so the expense of the 12,000 mile voyage from 
England would be eliminated. The ship for the Weddell Sea 
party had been found in Norway, where she had been built 
a few years previously for polar tours, with accommodation 
for ten passengers and special fittings for scientific research. 

Antarctic Regions as known at Shackleton's Death, 1922. 
(Showing proposed route of Imperial Trans- Antarctic Expedition, 1914.) 

She cost £14,000, was named the Polaris, and was intermediate 
in size, between the Nimrod and the Aurora. It was arranged 
that she was to be re-named the Endurance, a reference to 
Sir Ernest's family motto, " By endurance we conquer.'* A 
hundred big Canadian sledge-dogs were being selected m the 
far north of Canada, and a new motor sledge with a propeller 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 197 

similar to that of an aeroplane had been designed, as well as 
new tents more roomy and easier to erect than the old patterns, 
new rations, and a host of improvements in equipment. 

With all these commitments and the growing insistence 
of Dr. Konig that the Weddell Sea was to be reserved as an 
Austrian lake for the next Antarctic summer, the position 
of Shackleton had become very difficult. He was tired with 
months of intensely hard work, harassed by the illness of his 
children, and saddened by the death of his wife's kindly brother, 
with whom he had spent so many quiet and happy week-ends 
at Hinton Charterhouse in the great days of popularity. 

He rose to the difficulties as of old. In a very short 
time an attractively printed prospectus of the proposed 
expedition, in the form of a large quarto pamphlet, was got 
ready and a list compiled of several hundred wealthy people 
whose record suggested that they might be of the order of 
intelligence which could appreciate great enterprises, aimed 
not at gain, but at glory and the honour of the flag. The 
result was eminently satisfactory. Shackleton wrote a personal 
letter with each pamphlet, asking for a subscription of £50 
to the funds, and offering an interview to explain his designs 
further. In this way he secured a sufficiency of money to 
allow the expedition to go forward, and, what he appreciated 
no less highly, he made several new friends who could under- 
stand his ideals as well as his ambitions, and who valued his 
friendship long after the dashing adventure had come to naught. 
Mr. Robert Donald, then editor of the Daily Chronicle, sup- 
ported him with advice and introductions that were of the 
utmost value. 

The great Dimdee jute manufacturer. Sir James Caird, 
whose austere simplicity of life would not encourage a visitor 
to expect much in the way of pecuniary assistance, asked for 
an interview with Sir Ernest and questioned him keenly, not 
only on his plans but on his financial arrangements, laying it 
down that he would give no help unless the expedition started 
clear of debt. Shackleton told him that his future book and 
lectures had been pledged as security for the advances promised 
by certain guarantors, and Sir James said very quietly and with 


great deliberation, " Do you think. Sir Ernest, that those gentle- 
men would release you from that obligation if you were able 
to tell them that there was a man in Scotland who would find 
the remaining twenty-four thousand pounds on that condition ? " 
Shackleton nearly fell off his chair with the shock of surprise 
and relief, for here at a stroke was an end to all his anxieties. 
He undertook to see that the condition was fulfilled, and left 
Dundee not this time a rejected candidate, but an explorer set 

The promise was confirmed and the cheque sent in the 
following letter : 

" Dear Sir Ernest Shackleton, — ^The account you gave 
me of your plan of going from sea to sea is so interesting, I 
have pleasure in giving you my cheque for £24,000 without any 
conditions, in the hope that others may make their gifts for 
this imperial journey also free of all conditions. — I am, yours 
truly, James Caird." 

Miss Janet Stancomb-Wills (now Dame Janet Stancomb- 
Wills, D.B.E.) also gave generously to the ftmds, and took the 
deepest personal interest in the expedition. Shackleton was 
always responsive to the sympathy of imderstanding women, 
and in the difficult days before he left England to join the En- 
durance, he and Lady Shackleton were frequently the guests 
of Miss Stancomb-Wills, whose kindness to the family never 
failed in the long period of suspense and anxiety which followed. 
Miss Elizabeth Dawson Lambton, who had helped the Discovery 
and the Nimrod, was no less interested in the Endurance, and 
never faltered in her belief in the leader. The financial aspect 
of the preparations must not be left without recording that the 
Government gave a grant of £10,000 and the Royal Geographical 
Society, although its resources had been crippled by large dona- 
tions to other expeditions and by its removal to new premises, 
testified its good will by a grant of £1000. 

In May Shackleton spent some weeks in Norway with half a 
dozen of his men, camping on a glacier at Finse near Bergen, 
testing the new pattern of tents and the new motor sledges. 
Unfortxmately, although the ice and snow were present in full 

THE ENDURANCE, 1913-1915 199 

polar difficulty, there was the complication of heavy rain, which 
is unknown in the Antarctic regions, and with which the gear 
was not designed to cope. 

At home the work of equipment was going on apace. The 
personnel of the expedition was completed early in the summer. 
Captain ^neas Mackintosh was to command the Aurora and 
lead the Ross Sea party, which was to lay out a line of depots 
to the Beardmore Glacier, to assist the trans-continental party, 
and then to winter at M'Murdo Sound, keeping the Aurora there 
in winter quarters. The Endurance found a skilled navigator 
with experience of the Newfoundland ice in Captain Frank A. 
Worsley, whose cheery personality and gay contempt of danger 
fitted him well for the post. Several officers in the Army 
who were tired of the dull inaction of their profession, and 
anxious to see danger and excitement, secured places on the 
expedition. Wild, of course, was on the spot, and two other 
veterans of the Discovery, Crean and Cheetham (who had been 
one of the officers of the Nimrod), joined as second and third 
officers. Most of the others were new to the Antarctic, but 
all were picked men with fine records and that passion for 
adventure which the leader recognized as the prime requisite 
for every member of the expedition. 

Everything was at last beginning to go well, and Shackleton 
went here and there through the country delivering lectures 
to keep up the public interest, and every now and again to help 
a charity. He was appointed President of the Browning Settle- 
ment at Walworth, where he assured the assembled working 
men of the help which Browning's cheery optimism had always 
been to him, and promised to name a mountain after the poet if 
he should discover new peaks in the forthcoming expedition. 

At Glasgow in June he received the honorary degree of LL.D. 
from the University, and at a dinner in the evening was called 
on to reply for the new graduates. Part of the proceedings of 
the day had been a memorial lecture on Lord Lister, and Shackle- 
ton referred to the fact that Mt. Lister was the loftiest summit 
yet found on the Antarctic continent, and that the great surgeon 
had appreciated the compliment of placing his name so high 
in that absolutely germ -free atmosphere. Lord Rosebery, 


who followed, challenged the statement that no germ was to be 
found in the pure Antarctic air ; on the contrary, he said that 
he believed that analysis would discover a germ, infection with 
which had compelled Sir Ernest to do heroic deeds and lead a 
pleasant life in darkness and the society of penguins. He could 
not think that anjrthing less than a bacillus of the most virulent 
and persistent nature could accoimt for a man being willing to 
face such hard conditions a second time. 

About this time the business control of the expedition was 
confided to the care of an eminent firm of solicitors, and Mr. 
Alfred Hutchison, one of the partners, threw himself heart and 
soul into the work, and remained a trusted and helpful friend 
of Sir Ernest to the end. 

The Endurance reached the Thames in June, and stores were 
being put on board ; the hundred Canadian dogs were recover- 
ing from their long journey in a rural retreat near by, and 
Shackleton was getting the last of his scientific staff together, 
electrifying the young University men who were going with 
him by the rapidity with which he judged their fitness, and the 
short time he allowed them to gather the necessary apparatus 
for their respective departments. In truth, we must allow, 
that vastly as Shackleton 's expeditions have advanced several 
branches of science, he himself had little sympathy with scientific 
methods, and could never imderstand the necessity of long pre- 
paration for scientific research in new conditions. But he was 
determined that his expedition should have a good scientific 
record to its name, so he chose good men, young, full of ambition 
and determination, and left them a pretty free hand to do their 
best. The method was rather like teaching a puppy to swim by 
throwing it into the water, and at first it took away the breath 
of the academic youths who had been accustomed to have their 
way prepared and watched over by a professorial providence. 
Later they responded to the method, and were not second to the 
old Discoveries and Nimrods in devotion to " The Boss." 

The labour of preparation increased as the date fixed for sailing 
approached. It was arranged that the Endurance should leave 
the Thames in time to be at Cowes in the course of the Regatta 
week for a final inspection and farewell by the King, as his 

THE ENDURANCE, 191&~1915 201 

father had inspected and bidden farewell to the Discovery and 
the Nimrod. A good deal of equipment had still to be delivered 
from Norway, and several hundred pounds worth of scientific 
apparatus had yet to come from Berlin and Paris ; but the 
main bulk of the stores was at the dock-side or stowed on board 
by the middle of July. 

On i6th July Queen Alexandra, whose interest in Antarctic 
expeditions had not abated, paid a visit to the Endurance in 
the South- West India Dock accompanied by the Empress Marie 
of Russia and Princess Victoria. Her Majesty inquired after 
the hundred dogs which at first she was keen to visit, but on 
hearing that they were doomed never to return, she drew 
back declaring that she could not bear to look at the poor 
creatures. She inspected every part of the ship, and presented 
various souvenirs, including a large Bible with an autograph 
inscription for the crew", another for the wintering party, a 
miniature of the Queen Mother's Royal Standard, and an 
enamel medallion showing St, Christopher the patron saint of 
ferrymen. When in due time the ship sailed. Queen Alexandra 
sent a touching telegram of farewell and God-speed, 

Dr. Konig was pushing on with his expedition and still 
demanding that he should have the Weddell Sea to himself, 
and Lieutenant Filchner was still trying to bring the two 
expeditions to some sort of modus vivendi. He wrote begging 
Shackleton to come to Berlin in the last week of July to meet 
Konig, but Shackleton could not leave his own preparations, 
now in the agony of completion, and suggested that Konig 
should come to London. Nor had he had time to follow the 
darkening of the political firmament, or if he did it would 
only have been to think like others that storms so terrific as 
those clouds portended did not occur in our civilization. Had 
he gone to Berlin there is little doubt that his endurance would 
have been tested for the next few years, not in the southern 
ice, but in the Ruhleben internment camp. 

The Endurance left London on Saturday, ist August, flying 
the blue ensign with the burgee of the Royal Clyde Yacht 
Club, and loaded with mascots to secure a lucky voyage. She 
drew away from the wharf to the sound of a pibroch discoursed 


by a Highland piper in compliment to the Scottish contribution 
in money and men. The jollity of the scene was superficial 
so far as the leader was concerned. The war-cloud had burst 
over Europe, and though no more was heard of the Konig 
Expedition, the universal mobilization on the Continent had 
created a most difficult situation. The delivery of the scientific 
apparatus from Germany was hopeless, and that from France 
was also stopped. Now the King telegraphed that he could 
not go to Cowes this year. The Endurance lay off Margate 
for Sunday, and on Monday morning Shackleton went on shore 
and saw the order for general mobilization in the newspapers. 
Several officers who were ready to sail left at once to rejoin the 
colours. Shackleton returned to the ship, mustered all hands 
and told them that he had decided to place the ship, crew, and 
stores at the disposal of the Admiralty for service in case of 
war. Every one agreed and a telegram conveying the offer 
was sent to the Admiralty, and in an hour came the answer, 
contemptuously laconic — so it seemed to the patriotic ship's 
party — " Proceed." An hour later, a long and courteous 
telegram from the First Lord, Mr. Winston Churchill, arrived, 
thanking the commander and crew for their generous offer, 
but saying that as the expedition had been organized with the 
sanction and support of the highest geographical authorities, 
the Admiralty felt that it ought not to be interfered with. 
The ship sailed for Plymouth, but stopped at Eastbourne to 
land Shackleton, who had been in a state of great mental 
strain in the effort to convince himself as to the right course 
to pursue. The King received him on the afternoon of 4th 
August, thanked him for his offer to abandon the expedition, 
and assured him that it might proceed with his approval and 
good wishes. His Majesty then presented a silk Union Jack 
to carry on the trans- Antarctic journey. Shackleton concurred, 
but was not happy. 

The ultimatum to Germany expired at midnight, and we were 
at war. Every one declared that it would be a short war; 
the conditions of modem warfare were such that victory in 
six weeks (optimists said six months) or submission through 
starvation must result. In this hope the Endurance sailed 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 208 

from Plymouth at the end of the week, but Shackleton and 
most of the scientific staff remained to try to get together the 
essential things which had not been delivered in time. A 
consignment from Norway lay buried under a mountain of 
war stores at one of the docks and required heart-breaking 
efforts to overcome the of&cial and physical obstacles before 
it could be discovered. The promised free passages and free 
freights to South America and Australia were suddenly cancelled; 
the sailings of steamers were altered and could not be relied 
on, the blackness of the war prospects grew more serious day 
by day. It was a strain that few could stand, and Shackleton 
found relaxation in rare visits to his family, then at East- 
bourne, where for an occasional afternoon he became a boy 
again, larking with Ray and Cecily on the rocks and in 
the water. This gave relief for the time, but more than once 
Shackleton, who kept up his brave show of optimism to the 
reporters, acknowledged in confidence that he was almost 
" on the point of chucking the expedition and appljdng to 
Kitchener for a job." But just as on the Nimrod off King 
Edward Land, the thought of responsibility to those who had 
embarked on his venture and to those who had found the funds 
for it, overcame his personal feelings. Before he quelled the 
turbulence of his thoughts he and Lady Shackleton journeyed 
to Scotland and conferred with Sir James Caird, whose advice 
helped to overcome his wish to serve his country in the war 
and decided him to go on with the expedition ; but it had 
been a severe struggle. 

At last he got away from Liverpool on 25th September 
bound for Buenos Aires to join his ship. He was utterly tired 
out, his nerves on edge, and burdened with the new troubles 
that the war was heaping in his path. He wrote home : 

" I love the fight and when things are easy I hate it, though 
when things are wrong I get worried. ... I feel that I am going 
to do the job this time. ... I don't think I will ever go on a 
long expedition again. I shall be too old." 

The Endurance had been leaking on the voyage out, some 
of the crew had proved unsatisfactory, and it was difficult to 


supply their place. There were dif&culties as to the supply 
of stores, and the port authorities had not been disposed to 
put themselves about to expedite the departure of the ship. 
The officers had done their best through the proper official 
channels, but they were lost in the land of manana. When 
Shackleton arrived aU was changed. He went at once to the 
highest authority, found access and stated the case. The charm 
of his personal appeal had been felt by hard-headed, cold- 
blooded business men at home ; to an Argentine official steeped 
in Spanish idealism it was absolutely irresistible. All doors 
opened, all wheels ran smoothly, everything was done, done 
quickly, and with an air of Castilian grace. The countrymen 
of Cervantes recognized and did honour to the spirit of the 
caballero of La Mancha in this ingratiating and persistent 
stranger. So on 26th October the Endurance, with the Boss 
and all her complement of men and dogs, departed from the 
River Plate and in due time dropped anchor off the Norwegian 
whaling station of Grytviken in South Georgia. Here Shackle- 
ton stayed for a month making his final arrangements and 
recovering from a sharp attack of what he called influenza. 
The grim snow-topped mountain ridge that was destined to 
try his mettle and hold his memory was daily in his view, and 
his mind was f uU of forebodings all unsuspected by his comrades. 
He wrote : 

" Except as an explorer I am no good at an3^hing. ... I 
want to see the whole family comfortably settled and then 
coil up my ropes and rest. I think nothing of the world and 
the public. They cheer you one minute and howl you down 
the next. It is what one is oneself and what one makes of one's 
life that matters." 

The whalers reported very bad ice conditions in the Weddell 
Sea, and after the opportunity he had had of studying his com- 
panions on the voyage across the South Atlantic, Shackleton 
decided not to send the ship back from her farthest south point, 
but to seek winter quarters for her and postpone his great land 
journey until the following year. This decision was sent home 
in time to reach the Aurora before she sailed for the Ross Sea. 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 205 

Meanwhile a new and unsuspected danger was drawing near ; 
but it passed. The German Admiral von Spec, with his cruiser 
squadron, had taken a British collier after the battle of Coronel 
and was transferring the coal cargo to the warships in Beagle 
Channel near Cape Horn, whence the squadron sailed on 
6th December to its doom at the Battle of the Falklands. Had 
the coaling been quicker, and had the rumour of a British fleet 
at the Falklands reached von Spee, it is not improbable that he 
might have taken refuge at South Georgia and nipped the 
Imperial Trans- Antarctic Expedition in the bud. As things 
fell out the Endurance left Grytviken on 5th December, and 
with her convoy of observant albatrosses she was making her 
way through the South Sandwich Islands when, a few hundred 
miles distant. Admiral Sturdee was sinking the German cruisers 
on 8th December. 

The company on board the Endurance numbered twenty- 
eight all told. In addition to the leader, five had had previous 
Antarctic experience : these were Frank Wild, T. Crean, second 
of&cer, and A. Cheetham, third officer, all of whom had been 
on the Discovery and several later expeditions ; G. Marston, the 
artist, who had been on the Nimrod, and F. Hurley, the photo- 
grapher, who had been with Mawson in the Aurora. There were 
also Frank A. Worsley, the skipper ; H. Hudson, navigating 
officer ; L. Greenstreet, first officer ; L. Rickinson, chief engineer ; 
A. Kerr, second engineer ; J. A. Mcllroy and A. H. Macklin, 
surgeons and members of the scientific staff, together with R. S. 
Clark, biologist ; L. D. A. Hussey, meteorologist ; J. M. Wordie, 
geologist ; R. W. James, physicist (the last two being Cambridge 
men), and T. Orde-Lees, motor expert. The crew also in- 
cluded ten men of various ratings. The original intention 
was to divide up the party into the ship's company and the 
land party. 

The sea was covered with dense pack-ice as far north as 
latitude 58° 30' S., and the southward advance was checked in this 
temperate latitude, for the year was altogether abnormal; summer 
seemed to have dropped out of the calendar. The attempt to 
enter the pack in longitude 22° W. failed, and the Endurance 
coasted the edge of the ice to the eastward as so many of her 


predecessors had done in the Weddell Quadrant of the Antarctic. 
On nth December a lead was found between the floes in i8° 22' 
W., but so cold was the season that even then, a fortnight before 
midsummer, it was frozen over with new ice through which the 
powerful triple-expansion engines forced the steel-clad bows of 
the stout ship. Progress was slow ; the ice grew heavier from 
day to day, and the thickness of the floes exceeded anything that 
any one on board had observed in their many voyages through 
the Ross Sea. Christmas came, was celebrated with the usual 
jollity, though without relieving the anxiety that was beginning 
to weigh on Shackleton's mind, and not until the last day of the 
year was the Antarctic Circle reached and crossed. The En- 
durance had forced her way into the pack for 480 miles, but it 
had taken her twenty days to do so, an average speed of only i 
mile per hour, towards the south, though the twists and windings 
of the way made the distance travelled much greater. 

On 8th Januray 1915 the ship cleared the pack in 70° S. and 
for 100 miles she steamed through open water, passing 500 
great icebergs in a single day. On the loth the dull snow- 
shrouded heights of Coats Land were sighted, and the course 
continued parallel with the cliffs of an ice-barrier that pro- 
jected from the land. The ship was often within a mile of 
the barrier ice, and soundings showed depths of less than 100 
fathoms, so that, although no bare ground was seen, land was 
certainly very near. The biologist was happy examining the 
animals and sea-plants brought up in the dredge from the 
shallow water or caught in the musHn tow-nets, and the geologist 
had congenial employment also, for he foimd many interesting 
specimens of rock in the dredges, the material having been 
carried down by glaciers from strata deeply buried under snow 
and dropped on the sea-bed as the warm sea-water melted the 
ice. Penguins and seals were all round, and the newcomers to 
the Antarctic were in the high spirits which always result from 
the attainment of a free field of work in virgin wilds, after 
weeks of baffling struggle through the ice. The leader's eyes 
were fixed on the horizon ahead watching for the ice-blink that 
would proclaim fresh troubles, hoping that the open water along 
the Barrier would continue unencumbered. 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 207 

They passed Bruce's farthest of 1904, and the land on their 
left-hand was new, though it was so thickly buried in snow that 
its features were hidden from sight like furniture under a dust- 
sheet. Still, new land was there, and Shackleton named it 
the Caird Coast in honour of his chief supporter. On the 15th a 
great glacier or overflow of inland ice was sighted projecting 
far into the sea and forming a sheltered bay where the ship 
could lie alongside a firm ice-foot like a natural quay, whence easy 
snow slopes led to the summit of the Barrier. This was an ideal 
landing-place ; but it was only in 75° S. and nearly 200 miles 
farther from the Pole than Filchner's Vahsel Bay which Shackle- 
ton was making for ; so it was passed by, an opportunity offered 
too soon that was never to be offered again. The ice over the 
land was now seen clearly to rise to heights of 1000 to 2000 feet, 
some miles back from the sea. Good progress had been made 
to the southward, as much as 124 miles in a single day, taking 
the ship beyond 76° S. The ice-conditions became difficult 
again on the i6th, and a great gale sprang up from the eastward 
so that the Endurance had to make fast on the lee-side of a 
stranded iceberg, while the smaller bergs and masses of floe ice 
were being hurried past her by the storm. Next day the ship 
proceeded under sail, feeling her way along towards the south- 
west between the floes, now and again forcing a passage through 
sticky stretches of mixed ice and snow, turning now to the right 
and now to the left as openings presented themselves. 

Just in the same way the Nimrod had been nosing her way 
toward King Edward Land seven years before, always taking 
the turns that led to safety and finally turning back just before 
it was too late. Now on 19th January 1915, whether the 
directing mind was a shade slower in its working, or the signs of 
danger or safety a shade less obvious than they were before, or 
whether the hand of Fate seized the wheel of the Endurance, 
she took a turn and was held up by the ice : and she did not 
turn back in time. The ship was beset in 76° 34' S. and longi- 
tude 31° 30' W. This was not serious, for there was still a good 
month of the summer to come, and a strong wind might break 
up the pack and set her free in a few hours. Moreover, it was 
soon found that the pack and the ship with it was drifting 


steadily to the south-westward, the direction in which they 
wished to go ; there was no cause for alarm at all. 

On the tenth day of besetment the boiler fires were allowed 
to go out to save fuel. On one occasion open water appeared 
not far off, and a desperate effort was made to break up the 
surface of a frozen lead and get the ship into it, but the effort 
was vain. One day the " motor-crawler and warper " was got 
out on the floe and tried successfully. This was a form of motor 
adapted for getting over rough ice, something after the fashion 
of the warlike engine famiharized to people at home by the name 
of tank, provided with winding gear by which, when the motor 
was anchored in the ice, a sledge could be hauled up to it by a 
long steel wire wound on a drum. It worked well, and might 
be useful yet, for the ship was drifting south. So things went on 
for a month. Then on 22nd February (the anniversary of the 
Nimrod's departure from Cape Royds after landing the shore 
party, seven years before), a latitude of 77° S. was recorded in 
53° W. This was off Luitpold Land, 60 miles from Vahsel Bay, 
at which Shackleton had been aiming; but the ship was fixed 
in the floe like a castle on an island, and there was no power to 
move it towards the land nor any possibiHty of carrying the vast 
quantity of stores across the rough ice. Nothing could be done 
except to regret the lost opportunity of Glacier Bay, and that 
did not help. Shackleton was disappointed, but not cast down, 
for he had decided at South Georgia not to attempt the great 
land journey that summer, and it was easier to winter on the 
ship than in a hut. He recognized that the Endurance was fast 
for the winter, and hoped that she would remain in the high 
latitude she had reached. Then all would be well for the 
next summer. The boilers were emptied to avoid damage by 
freezing. A ring of dog-kennels was built on the floe around 
the ship where the animals might have more room, and their 
human companions be reUeved from their rather objectionable 

The cold was now severe, yet the floe was always moving, 
but its trend was to the north. By the end of April they were 
a whole degree, or 60 geographical miles, north of their farthest 
south point, and the ice-floe was driving towards a distant 

The Esdvraxce beset in Weddell Sea, August 1915. 

Face p, 209 

THE ENDURANCE. 1913-1915 209 

grounded berg against which the floating ice could be seen 
ridging and piling up ; there was some anxiety as to what would 
happen to the ship if she came too near, but she was gradually 
carried past the danger. The sun should have set for the last 
time near the beginning of May, but it came back again once or 
twice, its image being raised above the horizon by mirages 
which betokened open water and warmer air not very far away. 

The winter wore on, the ship drifted hither and thither with 
the floe, in the main northerly, sometimes faster (once she did 
37 miles in three days), sometimes slower, and on ist July she 
was in 74° S., 180 miles from her farthest south, and by the end 
of August she had reached 70° S., or 240 miles farther north. 
The sun had returned on 26th July. During all this time 
Shackleton was anxiously endeavouring to keep up the spirits 
of the men, and it was not very difiicult, for he kept them busy, 
well-fed, and comfortable. The electric light had been rigged 
up ; an Antarctic Derby had taken place on the smooth surface 
of a frozen lead in which rival dog-teams ran close races, and in 
September seals began to reappear, and there were hunting 
parties and feasting on fresh meat. But as the spring wore on 
the state of the ice became worse. It was subject to sudden 
and alarming movements, sometimes splitting with a loud 
report and ridging up with a hideous clangour of thrusting and 
falling masses as the surface yielded to the terrific pressures 
caused by wind driving one floe against another, or the whole 
system against the obstruction of the distant land to the 

The general track of the drift (see map on p. 236) was 
parallel to that of the Deutschland in 1912, and in August the j 
Endurance passed about as far to the west of the charted 
position of Morrell Land as Filchner had done to the east of 
it. Soundings showed a depth of 1700 fathoms, practically 
disproving the existence of land where Morrell had placed it, \ 
and where Bruce believed it to be. This was a definite \ 
contribution to geography, and the work of sounding and 
meteorological observations threw much light on the physical 
conditions of the ice-covered sea. 

Week by week the pressures grew more serious, the groaning 


and trembling of the ship as she shared in the strains of the 
imprisoning floes were horrible and alarming. Here and there 
frost -mist could be seen rising far off like smoke from a prairie 
fire, where pools of open water were formed by the rending of 
the floes. 

On i8th October the Endurance was lifted high above the 
sea-surface on a rising pressure ridge, and after a shaking was 
dropped back into a pool of open water. Steam was got up 
with all speed, the engine gave a few turns ahead and astern, 
but the hope of escape was thwarted. The pool froze over, 
the floes all round came together again and on the 24th the ship 
was caught between three moving masses to which the thinly 
frozen surface of the pool offered no resistance. One floe pressed 
against the starboard side, a second against the port quarter, 
twisting the vessel and starting the planks, while a third floe 
striking on the port bow rose up over the forecastle, forcing the 
ship down by the head. She began to leak badly : the pumps 
were rigged. For two days every man worked his hardest to 
keep the water down and save the ship. Shackleton says in 
South : 

" The pressure-ridges, massive and threatening, testified 
to the overwhelming nature of the forces that were at work. 
Huge blocks of ice, weighing many tons, were lifted into the 
air and tossed aside as other masses rose beneath them. We 
were helpless intruders in a strange world, our lives dependent 
upon the play of grim elementary forces that made a mock of 
our pimy efforts. I scarcely dared hope now that the Endurance 
would live, and throughout that anxious day I reviewed again 
the plans made long before for the sledging journey that we 
must make in the event of our having to take to the ice. We 
were ready, as far as forethought could make us, for every 
contingency. Stores, dogs, sledges, and equipment were ready 
to be moved from the ship at a moment's notice." 

The next day was bright and fine, but pandemonium raged 
in the floe. New pressure -ridges were rising and rushing 
forward with a roaring noise towards the ship, which strained 
and cracked. The rudder-post was torn from her by one 
thrusting floe, the decks broke up and water rushed in. The 

THE ENDURANCE. 1918-1915 211 

end had all but come. The Endurance could never float again, 
but spitted on Jagged shafts of ice she hung suspended till the 
floes closed and gripped her fast. On 27th October the pressures 
began once more, and at 4 p.m. the order was given to abandon 
the ship ; and the emergency stores, the boats, dogs, and men 
were moved to a hard, unbroken part of the floe near by. Tents 
were set up on the ice and a camp made. The expedition 
according to plan was at an end, there could be no trans- 
Antarctic march, no meeting with the Ross Sea party, no return 
in the Endurance even. The ship had drifted 570 miles towards 
home in the 281 days, though she had zigzagged through about 
1500 miles, since she had been seized in the grip of the ice. Now 
she was a total wreck, 180 miles from the nearest land to the 
west and 360 miles from Paulet Island, where the stone hut 
in which the crew of the Antarctic had wintered after the crush- 
ing of that vessel in 1903 was still standing, filled with stores 
deposited there by the Argentine ship Uruguay in the same 
year. The distance by sea to South Georgia was 1000 miles, 
to the Falklands 1050 miles, and these were the nearest dwelling- 
places of men. The scientific staff and crew, exhausted by a 
day of unceasing toil, crept into their sleeping bags in the tents 
lying on the 6 feet of ice which floated over 8000 feet of ocean 
depth ; but as for the leader, he says in South : 

" For myself I could not sleep. The destruction and 
abandonment of the ship was no sudden shock. The disaster 
had been looming ahead for many months, and I had studied 
my plans for all contingencies a himdred times. But the 
thoughts that came to me as I walked up and down in the 
darlmess were not particularly cheerful. The task now was 
to secure the safety of the party, and to that I must bend my 
energies and mental power and apply every bit of knowledge 
that experience of the Antarctic had given me. The task 
was likely to be long and strenuous, and an ordered mind and a 
clear programme were essential if we were to come through 
without loss of life. A man must shape himself to a new mark 
directly the old one goes to ground." 

And as he mused he saw a sudden crack run across the 
floe through the camp between the tents. He blew a whistle 


and brought the men tumbHng out ; the tents and gear were 
shifted from the smaller of the two pieces into which the floe 
had split and re-erected on the larger. The men went back 
to rest if not to sleep, and Shackleton to his pacings to and 
fro alone, listening to the shrieking clamour of rising ice ridges 
and the heart-rending sounds of collapse and destruction in 
the Endurance from the stem of which gleamed an un- 
extinguished light. Another spasm of the dying ship broke 
the connection, and the light went out ; but the soul of 
Shackleton was enlarged and set free, doubt and anxiety 
dropped from him, and he gave himself with all his might to 
the simple, straightforward fight for the safety of his people, 
putting behind him the shattering of his own ambitions. 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 

" There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, 
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me. 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the sunshine. . . . 
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down, 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles. 

One equal temper of heroic hearts 

Made weak by Time and Fate, but strong in Will 

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." 


THE wreck of the Endurance was the wreck of all 
Shackleton's dreams of a second polar triumph, and 
a new path to fortune through a second book and 
another series of world lecture tours ; but his optimism helped 
him to stand the shock. The bigness of his nature rose to the 
measure of his responsibility and triumphed over the slender- 
ness of his resources. 

He stood with all his men on a cracked and crumpled ice- 
floe far within the Antarctic Circle, drifting vaguely on towards 
warmer seas and dissolution, liable at any time to be torn 
asunder or thrust up into ridges of splintered ice. No outside 
help was possible, and the proposition which absorbed his 
whole attention was how the material saved from the wreck 
could be used to bring all his men to safety. For the next 
year the determination that he would preserve his reputation 
of never having lost a life on his expeditions possessed him to 
the exclusion of every other ambition. He laid his plans, 
changing them as the circumstances altered, and took his 
resolutions, sometimes with and sometimes against the advice 


of the few trusted friends whom he consulted, for he felt the 
responsibility to be his own, and alone he bore it. 

His first step was to select the most sohd portion of the floe, 
l^hich was found about a mile to the north-west of the wreck, 
and here he had all essential stores collected and tethering lines 
set up for the forty-nine dogs. The three boats taken from the 
ship were mounted on sledges for ready transport and when all 
was in order on 30th October, the new settlement was named 
Ocean Camp. A routine was established to keep every one 
busy, and the "Boss" set the example of that cheery optimism 
in the value of which he was so convinced a believer. The 
decks of the ship had to be split open to get at the cases 
which floated up in the flooded holds, and stores had to be 
saved without selection as they came to hand. The carpenter 
was kept at work raising the gunwales of the three larger boats 
and decking them in forward to fit them for heavy seas when 
transporting all hands in the time that was to cOme. 

For three weeks the wreck of the Endurance remained in sight, 
but on 2 1st November a shout from Shackleton, ever watchful 
even when another watch was set, " She's going, boys ! " brought 
all his men out of their tents to see the sickening sight of their 
once splendid ship diving through the heaving ice, bow first into 
the depths. Her disappearance was almost a relief ; the 
dead past burying her dead ceased to cast the shadow of the 
might-have-been on the living present. For a month the routine 
of Ocean Camp went on, plenty of food, punctual meal hours 
and a careful grouping of comrades in the various tents helped 
to keep all cheery ; but the best stimulus to good spirits was 
the decision which Shackleton took on 20th December to make 
a march over the ice towards the distant store hut on Paulet 
Island near Joinville Land. 

To lose no time, Christmas Day was celebrated on 22nd 
December, and as it was impossible to move all the stores 
saved from the ship, there was a great feast on luxuries, the 
food-value of which did not justify the labour of hauling them 
on sledges. This was the last absolutely fuU meal that any of 
them was to have for five months to come. The dog-teams 
were in good condition, the men full of rigour, and the party 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 215 

moved on with two of the boats and sledges loaded with tents, 
sleeping gear, and food. An advance party hewed a /path 
through the pressure-ridges to let the sledges pass on their 
course to the west. The work was heavy, the progress slow, 
and after a week of ceaseless effort astronomical observations 
showed that the result was only 7 miles advance. At this 
rate Paulet Island could never be reached, for the floe was 
carrying them towards the north in its irregular drift far 
faster than they could move over the rough surface, dr^ging 
the heavy boats. So on 29th December Shackleton resolved 
to form a camp on the ice once more and leave the decision as 
to the ultimate avenue of escape until he saw in what direction 
and how far the floe would take them. Opinion amongst the 
men was divided ; but when Shackleton made up his mind 
as to the right course he did not change it lightly. It was his 
.^expedition and he commanded it. So Patience Camp came 
into being, named after what was to him the hardest virtue. 
It was only in his fights with Nature that patience appealed 
to him at all, in his contests with men he preferred quicker ways 
of enforcing his will. 

This was Shackleton's diary for ist February 1916 : 

" 65° i6|' S., 52° 4' W. No news. 
S.E. wind, fine weather. 

Patience Camp was formed a short distance south of the 
Antarctic Circle ; but week by week it was carried northward, 
crossing the Circle in January 1916, when the summer sim was 
strong, and with an air temperature of 36° F. the inside of the 
tents became unendurably hot. The ice was melting every- 
where and everything was soaking wet. Seal meat, hitherto 
the staple food, was sometimes scarce, and as a precaution 
against its failure all the dogs except two teams were shot. 
The wind varied in direction and force, and formed almost 
the only topic of conversation, for the movement of the floe 
depended on the wind. A week of south-westerly gales moved 


Patience Camp 84 miles to the north in six days. The Camp 
was now in 65° S. where the drift of the Deutschland, four 
years before, had turned sharply to the eastward ; a safe trend 
for a ship still staunch, but one that would have brought utter 
disaster on a party dependent on small boats, which, once carried 
to leeward of the near islands in the zone of strong west winds, 
could never make the land. How keen the anxiety was for the 
one or two who knew the track of Filchner's imprisoned ship 
may be imagined. 

Every observation of the sim for longitude was waited on 
with unuttered anxiety while the position was being worked out ; 
but if the chronometer watches kept true — ^and they did — 
each observation showed that the northward drift still held. 
It was clear that when the pack broke up, refuge must be 
sought on one of the sub-antarctic islands, and if the drift 
should trend to the westward. Deception Island might be 
reached in the boats. Whalers might be foimd there if the 
season were not too far advanced ; in any case they knew 
that a little sailors' Bethel had been built at the whalers' chief 
resort, and the carpenter was already in imagination taking 
sacrilegious liberties with pews and floor-boards with intent 
to build a little vessel strong enough to cross the ocean to Pata- 
gonia or the Falklands. Their own three boats might be wanted 
soon, so on 2nd February Wild was sent with eighteen men 
to Ocean Camp, which had been drifting along in the floe 
parallel to Patience Camp, to bring back the third boat which 
had been left there. They brought it in safely ; but an attempt 
to return to Ocean Camp next day failed, as leads of water 
had opened between and it could never be visited again. The 
Stancomb-Wills had been brought home just in time. On 
29th February Leap Year Day was celebrated ; every occasion 
for a show of festivity helped to keep up the hearts of the 
ordinary human beings who were mixed with this goodly 
company of heroes, and this strange festst-day saw the last 
of the cocoa. Shackleton tells in South how his comrades fared 
in those trying days. Mr. R. W. James, a member of the 
scientific staff, has kindly given us his recollections of the 
" Boss " himself : 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 217 

" During this period he was very particular about the 
meals of the party. He believed in good food and plenty of 
variety as a specific against discontent, and insisted on every- 
thing being as clean and well served as possible. He believed 
in the maximum amount of civilization possible under the 
circumstances, and was a stickler for punctuality at meals. 

" My own realization of his best qualities came after the 
crushing of the ship when the party took to the ice. I had 
the good luck to be one of his tent-mates during the five and a 
half months' drift in Ocean and Patience Camps, and I think 
that time would have made me his admirer if nothing else had 
done so. He admitted to us a day or two after we had 
abandoned the ship, that he felt an actual relief when the worst 
came, because he then knew exactly what had to be faced. 
The whole of his mind then turned to that one problem, of 
landing the party without a casualty. Not only the main 
problem, but its details absorbed him. Food, how to get it, 
how to eke out our slender stock of preserved food to give 
the greatest variety to the eternal seal ; how to keep every- 
one employed and cheerful, to keep sleeping bags dry, to nip 
any sign of pessimism in the bud, the best way of keeping the 
stores ready for an instant shift ; all these things and many more 
occupied his thoughts by day and most of the night. To a man 
of his temperament the enforced inactivity of those months 
must have been irksome in the extreme. Yet he had the 
strength to stop our two attempts at marching when it seemed 
that nothing could be gained by going on and possibly much 
lost, and to form a fixed camp the second time contrary to the 
opinion of many of the party. Yet who can say events did 
not justify the decision ? 

" He was an excellent tent mate, and once inside the tent 
dropped to a, very large extent the Commander. We had great 
discussions about all manner of things. One of his chief argu- 
ments was in favour of ' practical ' instead of pure scientific 
research. . . . Sometimes he would be reminiscent, and those 
times were most enjoyable, for he had met many people from 
kings down ; and he told a tale well, and had a sense of the hum- 
our of a situation. He would discuss new expeditions, not only 
polar, but for hidden treasure, and schemes of all kinds for getting 
rich quickly, and one would realize what a gambler he was. 
Or he would read or recite poetry, and then one would see quite 
a different side of him. 

" One of our favourite amusements was the game known as 
* animal, vegetable, or mineral,' in which one of the players 
has to guess some object agreed upon by the rest, by asking 


questions to which the only answer allowed is ' Yes ' or ' No.' 
Shackleton had quite an uncanny skill at this game. By a few 
judicious questions he would narrow down the field of inquiry 
and rapidly arrive at the answer, however remote the thing 
might be." 

By the middle of March the drift had extinguished all hope 
of trying for Paulet Island, and before the end of the month 
the first land appeared far to the west, where the mountains of 
Joinville Island showed up faintly. The chance of making 
Deception Island vanished soon after, as the ice floe reached the 
mouth of Bransfield Strait and still held on its northward way. 
The only hope now was to reach one of the two easternmost 
members of the South Shetland group, Clarence Island or 
Elephant Island, where no landing had ever been made, and 
where no succour, save that of solid land beneath one's feet, 
could be looked for. Conditions on the floe were growing worse 
week by week. On 29th March a shower of heavy rain fell, 
the first experienced since leaving South Georgia, sixteen months 
before ; it made life supremely miserable, as the whole surface 
of the camp became slush, inside the tents as well as outside. 
The last teams of dogs had been shot, as it was feared that, with 
the approach of winter, seals would disappear. Rations had to 
be reduced. 

The Httle community began to show signs of cleavage from 
the working of privation and hardship on minds and bodies 
of unequal resisting power. This constituted Shackleton's 
greatest preoccupation and received his most vigilant attention. 
If dissension appeared there would be no chance of safety for 
all ; divided counsels were not to be tolerated for a moment. 
He knew intimately the disposition and idiosyncrasies of 
every man, and day by day the true self of each emerged from 
the wrappings in which conventional manners disguise character. 
Roughly the men fell into three classes. Those of experience 
and sagacity who saw as clearly as Shackleton himself what 
had to be done, and aided him wholeheartedly in doing it ; those 
who, with little experience, recognized by a sort of instinct the 
power and wisdom of the Boss, and were ready to follow him 
everywhere and trust him absolutely ; and the rest, a few, who. 

THE JAMES CAIRD, 1915-1916 219 

with untrained intelligence or enfeebled bodies, gave way to 
fear for their own safety, and by brooding on danger had come 
to the risk of panic or collapse. Those of the first order, chief 
amongst them Frank Wild, were Shackleton's other self, with 
whom in absolute confidence he discussed all his plans, and on 
whom he could rely to the uttermost. Those of the second order 
had absolute confidence in Shackleton, were sure that whatever 
he decided was the best, and to them he was always a considerate 
friend ; to the minority he was a master who must be obeyed, 
and he made himself obeyed and so saved them all. 

By the beginning of April the conditions were sufficiently 
alarming. The great massive floe, extending for hundreds of 
miles, in which the Endurance had been crushed and swallowed 
had now thinned down by melting between the warm sea-water 
below and the sun above. It had broken into a number of fields 
of ice an acre or so in extent, on one of which stood Patience 
Camp with its tents, its blubber stove, its outlook post built up 
of ice-blocks, its three boats, the James Caird, the Dudley 
Docker, and the Stancomb-Wills, the solitary remnants of the 
munificence of those who gave them. The swell of the great 
ocean made the cake of ice heave and tremble ; when the wind 
blew, one or another of the neighbour floes would jog against 
it and swing back, a crack would follow, and so by mutual 
approach the ice-fields were breaking up from acres into roods. 
In the lanes of water between the pieces of floating ice the 
men could see the killer whales cruising, with their sharp eyes 
lifted now and then, greedy as sharks and no less dangerous. 
The utmost vigilance was necessary to prevent the party from 
being separated or the boats lost. More than once in the dark- 
ness of the night, when anxiety would not let him sleep. Shackle- 
ton's sharp eye saw a crack before the watchman noticed it, 
and calling all hands he was able to see the whole company or 
the boats transferred to the same cake of ice. Once he says in 
South : 

" The crack had cut through the site of my tent. I stood 
at the edge of the new fracture, and, looking across the widening 
channel of water, could see the spot where, for many months, 
my head and shoulders had rested when I was in my sleeping 


bag. The depression formed by my body and legs was on our 
side of the crack. . . . How fragile and precarious had been 
our resting-place ! " 

Another time a crack ran right through a tent while the 
men were sleeping inside. Shackleton saw the tent stretch 
and tear as the fragments of the floe parted, and there was 
much difficulty in rescuing from the water two men who were 
engulfed while helpless in their sleeping bags. Ten seconds 
after he had hauled the last man out of the water, the ice came 
together again like the snapping of a trap. Nor was this the 
only rescue from imminent death effected by the Boss. By 
9th April Patience Camp was near its end ; the cake of ice 
on which it stood had been reduced to a triangle, the sides of 
which measured only 90, 100, and 120 yards respectively. 
All arrangements for taking to the boats had been perfected; 
each boat had its allotted crew and leader, its share of stores 
and gear carefully planned beforehand, a sufficiency of pre- 
served rations for forty days had been reserved for the 
emergency that had now arrived. It must be remembered 
that the dwindling cake of ice was surrounded only by narrow 
lanes of water, often not wide enough for a boat to push through, 
often filled with a sludgy mass of half melted snow and ice 
fragments that would neither float a boat nor bear the weight 
of a man. The killer whales, however, cruised in the lanes 
alert for prey. This day a wider and clearer lane appeared, and 
the boats were launched and rowed towards the edge of the 
pack, which could be seen in the distance, and at night they 
were hauled up on another piece of ice where the tents were 

The night was fraught with terrible experiences, so that 
it was a relief to get into the boats again in the morning, 
though some of the men were badly frost-bitten and all in a 
state of distress. The three boats reached the open sea, but 
the waves ran so high that they were forced to get back into 
the lanes between the floating ice, again to camp upon a floe. 
An effort was being made to work a way to the westward in 
the hope of reaching Deception Island now the sea was open. 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 221 

On the I2th, when Worsley succeeded in getting an observation 
of the sun, every one believed that in the three days the boats 
had made their way 30 miles at least to the westward of the 
point where they had deserted Patience Camp. Worsley 
worked out the position and Shackleton brought his boat 
alongside to receive the news. Worsley said nothing, but 
handed him the paper ; the Boss looked at it and saw to his 
horror that the position was 30 miles to the eastward, and not 
to the westward of the starting-place; the drift had changed 
and they had been powerless to make way against it. He 
called out, " Not so much westing as we hoped for, boys ! " 
and he very soon decided that the best chance left was to make 
straight for Elephant Island, 100 miles away. 

On the 13th the pack suddenly opened and the boats were 
in the open ocean where a heavy sea was running. Shackleton 
in the James Caird commanded the flotilla, and Wild was with 
him, Worsley was in the Dudley Docker, and the first officer 
and Crean were the senior men on the Stancomb-Wills. They 
kept the three boats as near each other as it was safe to go, 
and all day battled with the rising sea. Some of the men 
were helpless with sea-sickness, so sudden was the change from 
the immobile floe to the wild tossing of the boats on the enormous 
waves. One or two were disabled with frost-bite, and a few 
were quaking with fear and had fairly lost their heads in 
delirium. So rapidly had the wind carried the boats steering 
north for Elephant Island away from the pack slowly drifting 
eastward, that there was not a bit of floating ice in sight, and 
they were short of water. All night the boats lay one astern 
of the other riding to a sea-anchor, for Shackleton was afraid 
they might run past the island in the dark, and he knew that 
they could never beat back against the wind. There was a 
strong feeling amongst the men that they should go on and 
risk it, and Worsley thought it should be done ; but he compelled 
obedience to the Boss, who for that night's inaction earned 
the strange nickname " Old Cautious." 

That never-to-be-forgotten night was one of sheer horror. 
The spray deluged everything in the boats and froze in 
masses of ice which had to be chipped away in the darkness 


or the weight would have sunk them. The temperature fell 
to zero Fahrenheit, which would try the staying power of a 
dry, well-fed, stoutly-clothed London policeman briskly pacing 
his beat on firm pavements ; here it fell upon enfeebled men 
wet to the skin, in worn and tattered clothing, crusted with 
ice, half stai-ved and unable to shift their cramped positions 
for fear of upsetting the almost sinking boats. Shackleton 
did not expect that the weaker men could possibly survive 
the night. They did survive the night and the next day too 
when the warm sunshine heartened them, though all were 
tortured by thirst, and at evening the cliffs of Elephant Island 
were only a few miles off. The Stancomb-Wills was in the 
worst plight, and the James Caird took her in tow. All that 
endless night Shackleton sat with his hand on the painter of 
the other boat so that he could know she had not broken loose, 
flashing signals to the Dudley Docker which had disappeared. 

Next morning all three boats arrived together at a little strip 
of beach on the north coast of Elephant Island, and with almost 
incredible good-fortune every man landed safely and the boats 
were hauled up. It was 15th April 1916 ; the last time any of 
these twenty-eight men had set foot on solid land was 5th 
December 1914, more than sixteen months before. Here 
Shackleton after eight sleepless nights lay down on the beach 
and slept for many hours untroubled by damp or cold. On the 
17th the whole party moved in the boats with much difficulty 
to Cape Wild, a beach which Wild had found on the previous 
day some miles to the westward. The exhausted men were 
slow to take to the sea again, but Shackleton had found marks 
on the beach first reached which showed that spring tides 
completely submerged it. Wild's beach ran up in a steep 
slope weU above high-water mark ; at every other point along 
the coast the rollers broke against black cliffs which rose sheer 
for 1000 feet, or against the massive front of glaciers which filled 
every creek or valley. 

Then followed three days of austere living and, for Shackle- 
ton, very hard thinking. No relief expedition would be likely 
to look for them on Elephant Island ; it was hopeless to dream 
of an ocean voyage in the little open boats carrying all the 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 223 

men. Two things might be done, either to send one boat with 
a few picked men to endeavour to reach some port, or else for 
all to remain where they were. The second alternative had no 
hope in it, the first held just a glimmer, but enough for Shackleton 
to seize upon. 

During the boat journey from the floe to Elephant Island 
his optimism alone upheld his followers. It was he alone who 
decided what were the reasonable risks that might be run 
and what the foolhardy projects that must be checked. He 
now decided that it was he who should take the path of greatest 
danger in the search for help, and that his companions should 
be the strongest men and best sailors ; but that Wild must 
stay in charge of the party on Elephant Island as no one else 
had his power of extracting sustenance and a semblance of 
comfort from such conditions as existed there. Help must 
be sought at once before winter was on them and the island 
surrounded by impenetrable ice. The Falkland Islands were 
nearest ; but a boat could not lay a course athwart the westerly 
winds to reach them, and South Georgia, 800 miles away, could 
more likely be reached. 

Shackleton decided to take the James Caird as the largest 
and most seaworthy boat. She was, in fact, only 22 feet long 
and about 7 feet at her widest, an ordinary whale-boat, very 
different in size and strength from the lifeboats carried on the 
upper deck of a liner. To improve her he had the services of 
a skilled carpenter in M'Neish, who strengthened the boat (the 
gunwale of which he had already raised in Ocean Camp) by 
fitting the mast of the Stancomb-Wills as a girder fore and aft 
to support a framework made of some old sledge-runners and 
box-lids, over which a covering of canvas was stretched and 
nailed down. Materials were scant and nails had to be drawn 
out of the venesta food-boxes in order to fix the canvas ; but 
in the end a creditable job was made of it and the fore-part of 
the James Caird was completely covered in. Ballast was put 
in, her mast set up, and provisions, the old sledging rations, for 
six men for a month, a cooker, some gallons of parafiin, and two 
casks of water. The crew chosen were Crean, M'Neish, 
M'Carthy, and Vincent, with Worsley as navigator. The 


arrangements were made with the utmost dispatch as winter 
was near — the penguins had departed to an easier cUmate, 
and the ice-pack was creeping up nearer and nearer to the 
island every day. Speaking of these experiences some months 
later in a letter to his son Ray, Shackleton said ; 

" It has been a much harder expedition than the last, and 
for months on end one never knew whether we would see the 
following day or whether it would finish up in the night." 

All through he carried the weight of all the lives on his 
own magnificent optimism. To any glimmering of insub- 
ordination he was stem, and the least docile member of the 
crew was cowed without a word by the mere glance of his 
indignant eye. To weakness he was all gentle consideration, 
tending the men whose minds had given way under unbearable 
stress, Uke a mother. Every one depended on him and trusted 
him, and he entrusted them to the command and brotherly 
care of Frank Wild, who had never failed. On 24th April 
he started on his desperate venture. 

The James Caird, with her company of six, hoisted sail 
and slipping through a lane in the on-coming pack reached 
the clear sea. The twenty-two left behind sped the departure 
with three cheers and then set themselves to make the best of a 
very bad situation. In the months that followed there was 
never a wavering of confidence in the " Boss " or in his power 
of saving them. Their belief in his good luck went beyond 
reason, and they never thought that in undertaking the voyage 
to South Georgia he was deserting his comrades or trying to 
save himself. So they remained lying or crouching under the 
upturned hulls of the Dudley Docker and the Stancomb-Wills 
while the James Caird went on her way. 

Life on the James Caird can hardly be described, and it 
cannot even be imagined by those who have seen the huge 
waves of the Southern Ocean only from the deck of a liner. 
Those on board the Uttle craft were already exhausted with the 
dreadful year of winter they had come through, their clothes 
were worn and tattered, their skin flayed at every joint with 
the horrible sea-blisters which salt water, cold, and the 

THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 225 

friction of rough cloth produce. They could not stand up, 
except for a moment or so, holding on to the mast or stays ; 
they could not lie down except on the rough angles of the 
ballast and the cases under the dripping canvas " deck" ; they 
could not even sit except in the open well at the stern, where 
the steersman on his two-hours' turn at the helm was often so 
cramped that he could not unbend his knees or lift his hands 
when reheved. Cooking was sometimes possible, one man 
holding the primus lamp, two squatting, one on each side, 
holding the cooking pot and lifting it clear when the worst 
lurches of the distracted boat threatened disaster. Whenever 
the sun showed at an hour when observations could be taken, 
Worsley took its altitude and worked out the position, 
managing in some manner peculiar to himself to set and clamp 
the sextant while he hung on to the mast with one arm and 
caught sight of the horizon from the top of a wave. 

Shackleton remained alert and quiet but always cheery, 
seeking for any pretext for a joke as for hidden treasure, and 
splendidly seconded by Worsley's undampable spirits to up- 
hold the men whose minds had not been trained to dominate 
the depressing drag of their racked and weary bodies. Down 
in the hollow of the waves the little boat would lie a while, 
shut into an illusive calm between two hills of water, from the 
summits of which the spume flew far overhead ; a moment later 
she would rise on the crest and be flung forward by the shrieking 
wind in a smother of spray, rushing down into the next still 
hollow only to be hurled again into the tempest. The sea- 
birds kept them company, little " Cape pigeons " which 
Shackleton could not shoot (he had his double-barrelled gun 
with him) because they looked so friendly. Great albatrosses, 
whose span of wing almost equalled the length of the little 
boat, swooped so low over it that the expression of impersonal 
interest in their hard, bright eyes could be seen, and it aroused 
a feeling akin to that of the Ancient Mariner after he fired 
the fatal shot, so they, too, passed immune. Strange sights 
had these great birds seen and grim struggles, but never any- 
thing stranger or grimmer than the James Caird and those 
she carried. And never could the spirits of his ancestors and 


of his fellows, the old polar heroes, have looked with greater 
pride on Ernest Shackleton than now when midway on that 
supreme adventure. The labour of chipping off the ice as it 
formed gave place to ceaseless baling as the air grew less cold. 
When near despair in their worst moments, the men were 
cheered by the Boss's confident shout, " We're going to get 
through all right." But it was a very near thing. 

On 8th May the fine navigation of Worsley brought the 
mountains of South Georgia into view, the little boat had been 
piloted across the great ocean to the very spot aimed at ; but a 
gale put her to a last rough test on the following day, and when 
the wind dropped it was found that the mast had lost its fasten- 
ings, and had the gale lasted another half-hour it would have 
fallen and probably ended the boat and this biography. The 
whole of 10 th May was occupied by working back to the coast, 
and at dusk an opening between the cliffs appeared ; and as the 
water was quite exhausted and thirst was raging, Shackleton 
took a' big risk and sent the boat in between the rocks and 
beached her in a cove. As he was making the boat's painter 
fast in the half-darkness, Shackleton slipped on the rocks and 
was badly shaken by a fall that might easil}'' have proved fatal. 
Two of the men were in a very bad way, and all were absolutely 

When daylight returned it was discovered that the opening 
they had entered was King Haakon Fjord on the farther 
side of the island from the whaling stations. Nothing could 
be done for four days except to recruit the strength of the 
men by rest and food, and, fortunately, food of the pleasantest 
and most nourishing kind abounded in the shape of albatross 
chickens, not yet fully fledged, but large and plump and 
tender as turkeys. No thought of the Ancient Mariner now 
stayed their hand, though the sailors, vague as to the border-line 
between law and tradition, thought they were contravening 
some Wild Birds' Protection Act. To make a fire they broke 
up the " deck " and topsides of the James Caird, and so, at last, 
made themselves warm and nearly dry. Then, on 15th May, 
they launched the boat and sailed up the inlet, landing close 
to the glacier at its head. Here they hauled up the boat and 


THE JAMES CAIRD. 1915-1916 227 

turned it upside down on a wall of turf and stones, creating 
Peggotty Camp. 

Shackleton found that two of the men were still too ill to 
move, and saw that it would be hopeless for the boat to face 
the rough and rock-strewn seas in the attempt to reach the 
whaling stations. So he determined to leave three men at 
Peggotty Camp and with Worsley and Crean to cross the un- 
known mountains in search of help. The carpenter made a 
sledge to carry sleeping bags and food, but it was too heavy 
for the steep snow slopes, and Shackleton decided to make the 
journey which, from the chart, should not exceed 17 nules, in a 
single march. They started at three o'clock in the morning of 
19th May, found a way up the snow-clad mountain slope, and 
after wanderings to and fro in search of passes, and up and down 
in darkness or in mist, they made their way across the AUardyce 
Range that no one had ever attempted to scale before, and on 
the forenoon of 20th May 1916 the three, shaggy, dirty, and 
ragged, reached Stromness Whahng Station. The feat was a 
miracle of mountaineering without guides or maps or resting- 
places. The risks rim were almost incalculably great, the toil 
enough to cloud their consciousness, and it is little wonder that 
more than one of the party felt as if they were accompanied by 
a Presence not of this world. 

When they scrambled down the last cliff and staggered along 
the level to the settlement, the first inhabitants met, two boys, 
fled in terror at their approach ; the next, an old man, looked at 
them and hurried away before they could speak. Then they 
came to the Manager's house, and Mr. Sorlle, an old acquaint- 
ance, stared at them in blank astonishment and demanded 
their names. " When was the war over ? " asked Shackleton. 
" The war is not over," was the first news of the world of men 
after a year and a half of isolation. Mr. Sorlle proved a friend 
indeed. He gave them food, hot baths, and new clothes from 
the Store. In an hour or two they were civilized again. 

If his return to the Nimrod on the Plateau, the Glacier, and 
the Barrier, seven years before, had been a race with Death on 
his pale horse, Shackleton's return from the Endurance over 
the Floe, the Ocean, and the Mountains, had been one long 


wrestling bout with the same grim adversary, dismounted, and 
in earnest. Never for an hour in all these months had Shackle- 
ton or his men been free from the menace which only unsleeping 
vigilance could save from becoming a strangle-hold. In this 
struggle Shackleton had risen to the height of moral greatness, 
though the ambition he had started with was wrecked and his 
party scattered. Battle by battle Shackleton had won so far ; 
but his fight was not over. 

The little boat which had played its part so stoutly was 
brought back to England, and for all time coming the James 
Caird will be an object-lesson in courage, resourcefulness, and 
unselfishness to the boys of Shackleton's old school, Dulwich 
College, where it Ues, an inspiring memorial. 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 

" Such was this knight's undaunted constancy. 
No mischief weakens his resolved mind ; 
None fiercer to a stubborn enemy. 

But to the jdelding none more sweetly kind, 
His shield an even-ballast ship embraves 
Which dances Ught while Nepture wildly raves. 
His word was this ; ' I fear but heaven ; nor winds nor waves.' " 

Phineas Fletcher. 

THE bliss of returning to civilization, the warm bed, electric 
light, and solicitous kindness of Mr. Sorlle might have 
justified a few days spent in rest and recuperation; 
but before he slept Shackleton saw a little steamer go off with 
Worsley on board to bring back the three men from King Haakon 
Fjord. Then he turned at once to the problem of reheving the 
twenty-two on Elephant Island. A steel-built whaling steamer, 
the Southern Sky, of 80 tons, was laid up for the winter at 
Husvik, but it was impossible to communicate with the owners 
in England. The magistrate, who represented the law and 
the government, sanctioned the use of this vessel on Shackleton 's 
accepting full responsibility, and Captain Thorn, whose ship 
was loading a cargo of whale-oil, undertook to command it, 
whUe a volunteer crew was soon made up from the whalers, 
all willing to stretch a point to save men whose plight might be 
their own any day. 

While preparations for the voyage were going forward 
Shackleton heard from his host that the Aurora, while wintering 
in M'Murdo Sound, had been blown out to sea in May 1915, 
and drifted in the pack northward degree by degree simultane- 
ously with the Endurance ; but although seriously damaged, had 



escaped from the ice near the Balleny Islands in March 1916, 
and Stenhouse, the chief officer, had brought her safely to New 
Zealand. Ten men had been left behind, including Mackintosh 
and five companions who had not returned from their journey 
to the Beardmore Glacier. 

Here was the complicated situation which now confronted 
him. Shackleton was on one side of South Georgia, three 
of his men on the other side of the island, twenty-two on Ele- 
phant Island on the point of being imprisoned in ice for the 
winter, ten men on M'Murdo Sound or lost for ever on the 
Barrier which had been fatal to Scott ; one ship lost, the other 
seriously damaged. His funds, he knew, must by this time 
be exhausted, and he was isolated here with hundreds of miles 
of stormy sea between him and the nearest telegraph station 
from which he could let the world know his condition. Would 
the world care to know and bestir itself to help ? The old 
world he knew certainly would, but the world was changed and 
had become strange. The calm Norwegians here in the whaling 
station told him of incredible things, of horrors unknown to 
civilization, of peaceful ships sunk by submarines, of towns far 
from the scene of hostilities ravaged by bombs from aircraft, of 
rationed food and censored letters, of compulsory military 
service and crushing taxation, of one country after another 
being dragged into the war or starved under the burden of 
neutrality. "All the world is mad," was the summing up of 
the South Georgians, and it was to bring his people back to 
this mad world which was perhaps too preoccupied to help 
him that Shackleton had now to set his plans. 

Already at home his anxious friends had roused the Govern- 
ment to action, and while he was recovering his strength in the 
cave on King Haakon Fjord a strong committee nominated by 
the Admiralty, with the Arctic veteran Sir Lewis Beaumont as 
chairman, had met to consider what steps could be taken to 
search for and reUeve the survivors of the expedition. On 
the day Shackleton reached Stromness the committee reported, 
recommending that the old Discovery should be purchased and 
dispatched to the Weddell Sea, and the Aurora refitted for the 
Ross Sea. Representatives of the Royal Geographical Society, 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 231 

Antarctic explorers, including Sir Douglas Mawson and Dr. W. S. 
Bruce, and his own representative, Mr. A. Hutchison, were 
giving their expert assistance to the committee ; but even had 
he known all this, Shackleton's sense of full personal responsi- 
bility would have forced him forward to exhaust his own energy 
before waiting for help. 

On 22nd May, Worsley came back with the three men from 
Peggotty Camp, who in due time returned to England in the 
whale-oil ship, while on the 23rd Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean 
sailed in the Southern Sky. Shackleton was in high spirits. 
He had lost no time, and, if his luck held, the whole Weddell Sea 
party should be on their way home in a week. He told the story 
of the James Caird to hearers who knew the risks he had run, 
and could estimate the undaunted constancy of his resolution. 
He gloried in the achievement, for, as he put it, "I do not wish 
to behttle om: success with the pride that apes humility." If 
the luck would only hold ! But on the 26th the ice-pack was 
encountered, and though he tried for two days to get round it 
there was no way. The little steamer would be crushed like 
an egg-shell if the pack had closed upon her. She could not be 
brought within 70 miles of the island, and as the coal-supply 
was running low, the attempt at rescue had to be abandoned, 
and a course was set for the Falklands. On 31st May the 
Southern Sky entered Port Stanley ; Shackleton got his messages 
sent off by wireless, and at midnight, as Lady Shackleton was 
bidding farewell to two friends of the expedition at her house in 
Vicarage Gate, the telephone bell rang and she heard the news. 
Next day it claimed a larger share of public attention than 
one could have ventured to hope in that time of tense anxiety 
for war-news, only to be swept from most minds by the first 
alarming announcement of the Battle of Jutland before the 
authorities had recognized it as a victory. Nevertheless con- 
gratulatory telegrams poured in, foremost amongst them a 
warmly worded message from the King. 

There was no suitable ship at the Falklands to undertake 
a winter voyage to the South Shetlands ; such a thing had never 
been attempted before ; but Shackleton knew that unless seals 
or penguins had appeared much later in the season than was 


to be expected, his men must now be on short rations and in 
great danger. The Governor of the Falklands, Mr. Douglas 
Young, was hospitable and kind, giving all possible assistance. 
The Admiralty and several personal friends had endeavoured 
to find a wooden ship fit to enter the ice in some South American 
or South African port, but in vain. Many weeks must elapse 
before the Discovery could be sent out from England. 

Sparing nothing on cables, which indeed he always used as 
carelessly as the old sixpenny telegrams at home, Shackleton 
got the promise of a trawler from the Government of Uruguay. 
Greatly to the credit of all concerned, this vessel, the Instituto 
de Pesca No. i, reached Port Stanley from Monte Video on loth 
June, and Shackleton was away on her before night. The 
weather was bad, of course, nothing else was to be expected in 
those latitudes at that season. The Uruguayan officers suffered 
from the bitter cold, but did not turn back from the neighbour- 
hood of Elephant Island, the peaks of which were sighted on 
the third day, 30 miles off, until every effort to find a way 
through the pack failed. At last, with the coal nearly exhausted 
the damaged trawler had to return baffled to Port Stanley. 
The Uruguayan Government offered to have the vessel refitted 
and to try again ; but so much would have to be done that the 
delay practically meant abandoning the attempt at rescue. 
Nansen had offered, on behalf of the Norwegian Government, 
to lend the Fram, but time stood in the way of accepting this 
offer ; Peary was urging the United States Government to offer 
the use of the Roosevelt, but nothing came of it. Shackleton 
kept the wireless and cables lively, stirring up every seaport 
of the Argentine and Chile, asking the Argentine Government 
if their old gunboat, Vrugtiay, which had rescued Nordens- 
kjold twelve years before, was fit for the service, but she 
was not. 

Then a mail steamer coming in, he crossed to the most 
southerly town of Chile, the little port of Punta Arenas in 
Magellan Strait. Here is the centre of a considerable Scottish 
colony engaged in sheep-farming, and the British Association 
of Magellanes gave him a great reception, s)mipathizing with 
him to the extent of a subscription of £1500 towards a new 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 288 

attempt at rescue. The Emma, an old sailing schooner with 
auxiliary oil-engines, was chartered ; a crew of ten men belonging 
to eight different nationalities (some hailing from places as 
remote as Finland, Andorra, and Mauritius), was brought 
together, and in view of the tempestuous weather the services 
of a little Chilean patrol steamer, the Yelcho, were secured to 
give a tow to the distance of 200 miles south of Cape Horn. It 
was hard work making way against the gales of the South 
Atlantic, and after three days of struggle in which the tow rope 
broke again and again, the Yelcho gave up off the port of San 
Sebastian, but caught up the schooner again at Staten Island 
and resumed the towing. A favourable wind enabled the 
Emma to make more speed than the Yelcho, so the tug returned 
to Punta Arenas, while Shackleton, with Worsley as navigator, 
held on his way in the Emma. By 21st July they had pushed 
on to within 100 miles of Elephant Island, where the ice enemy 
repulsed this third attempt as it had repulsed the two others, 
and after one of the most stormy cruises of their experience, 
the weary explorers struggled back to Port Stanley on 3rd 
August. Shackleton was pretty well worn out. " I have grown 
old and tired," was the way he put it. The news from home 
was not cheerful. His wife's sister Daisy, to whom he was 
devoted, had died on Easter Sunday, and her eldest brother, 
Mr. C. H. Dorman, who helped so notably in the Nimrod days, 
had died the year before ; he felt the double loss the more as 
the news was not separated by a gap of time. To his daughter 
(aged 9) he wrote on ist August : 

"My Darling Little Cecily, — ^Two years have gone by, 
child, since your old Daddy has seen you, and I am just longing 
to see my little girl again ; though from your photo and from 
what Mummy tells me you have grown so much. It has been 
a long, long time to be away, and it has been a time full of work 
and danger, so that I want to come home and rest, and I want 
to walk with Mummy, you, Ray, and Edward in Kensington 
Gardens again and hear all you have been doing, and how you 
have been getting on at school, in fact, everything about you, 
darling. This is a funny little ship I am on now ; we all Hve in 
a small cabin, and the water comes down through the roof or 
rather deck, as the ship leaks, and all the time she rolls about. 


Just now I had to go up to alter the sails as a fair wind has come, 
and there is a chance that we may soon reach the Falkland 
Islands. We were not able to get through the ice to our men, 
and I have had to turn back, and now must wait for a bigger 
ship. I am very anxious about them, for they must have so 
little to eat now, unless they manage to get seals and penguins. 
We are very short of water and have not been able to wash 
since we left South America, three weeks ago ; but that is nothing, 
for I had no wash from October last year until 20 th May this 
year, and had not my clothes off from the ist August 191 5 till 
the 20th May 1916. I will have many stories to tell you of 
adventure in the ice when I return, but I cannot write them. 
I just hate writing letters, but I want you to get this to know 
I am thinking of you, my little daughter, and to tell you I loved 
your letter which you wrote last February to me. I know you 
will be a comfort and help to Mummy all the time I am away, 
and work well at school. — Good-bye, darling, thousands of 
kisses. From your Loving Daddy." 

The news which awaited Shackleton at Port Stanley did 
not please him. The Government at home had taken action 
very promptly, as it seemed to those who knew the terrible 
load borne by the Admiralty during the war, and the Discovery 
was on the point of leaving Devonport for the Falklands under 
Lieut.-Commander Fairweather, and was to be expected about 
the middle of September. The conditions attached to the 
relief expedition seemed to Shackleton, in the absence of full 
information, to be unfair towards himself. The fact that 
the Admiralty Censor would read his private correspondence 
weighed on him and checked the freedom of his communications 
with his friends. A personal interview with the First Lord 
or with the Chairman of the Committee would probably have 
removed all misunderstanding, but that was impossible, and 
his mind remained troubled. By the end of September he 
was sure that the Elephant Island party would be in sore 
straits and some of them, he feared, would have succumbed 
to the hardship and hopelessness of their life. The Governor 
of the Falklands pressed the hospitality of his comfortable 
house upon Sir Ernest, but to him the prospect of walking 
to and fro along the bleak little port's one street, from the 
graveyard to the slaughter-house and from the slaughter-house 

ALUS WELL. 1916-1917 235 

to the graveyard, while his men were dying, was absolutely 
intolerable. They must be rescued, and he himself must 
rescue them before it was too late. He telegraphed to the 
Chilean Government begging that the Yelcho might be sent 
to take him and the Emma back to Punta Arenas, and the 
Yelcho came. The towing of the Emma across to the Strait 
in a north-westerly gale was a terrible experience, running 
very near disaster, but they reached the remote Chilean 
outpost in safety on the 14th and were met by the old 

While waiting at Punta Arenas he wrote to his younger boy, 
then aged five : 

" My Darling Little Edward, — ^This is just a line from 
Daddy to give you his love and to say that I am just longing 
to see you again after all this long time. Daddy will show 
you all the pictures of the ice and snow when he comes home 
again. Goodbye. — Your loving Father." 

No suitable ship could be found at Punta Arenas, and after 
exhausting every possibility suggested by his quick imagination, 
goaded by fear for his men and resolve to rescue them him- 
self, an improvement of weather led him to ask the Chilean 
Government to lend him the Yelcho for a last dash. He knew 
that the little steel-built vessel was incapable of threading 
the lanes of the ice-pack without risks that his caution 
would not let him undertake, and he promised not to allow 
her to touch ice if he could have her for his last throw for 
success. The Chilean Government had confidence in him, 
the Chilean people believed him capable of anything, and his 
heart was warmed by the readiness of their response to his call. 
The commander of the little boat. Captain Luis Pardo, cheer- 
fully undertook the voyage, and with Worsley and Crean, 
Shackleton set out once more on his adventure on 25th 

The comparatively favourable weather held and the Yelcho 
reached Elephant Island on 30th August, finding that the ice 
was open right up to the shore. Coasting along, Worsley 
sighted Wild's camp, and the imprisoned men sighted the ship 


just as they were going to begin their midday meal. That meal 
was never eaten. A boat came ashore from the Yelcho, 





_,/ of the 


and tracks of relief sMps 

y 1914- - 1916 

TOO »00 


80 70 fiO 60 40 30 20 

Routes of the ENDURANCEy the James Cairo, and the Relief 
Ships of 1916. 

Shackleton in the bow, throwing packets of cigarettes to the 
men he knew must be in agony for tobacco. 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 287 

" Are you all well ? " roared Shackleton. " All safe ;'| all 
well, Boss," shouted Wild, and even in their excitement the 
men on the beach noticed the smile that lit up his face as he 
breathed " Thank God ! " As they had stood on the beach a 
few minutes before, gazing at the strange ship in some appre- 
hension, they had recognized Shackleton's figure as he got into 
the boat, and the cry that rose from them was not one of re- 
joicing at their own release, but a fervent " Thank God, the Boss 
is safe I " This time Wild's " Pack up, boys. Perhaps the 
Boss will come to-day," which greeted each temporary clearing 
of the ice during that miserable winter, had been justified. 

There followed a hurry of embarkation. Three times the boat 
went to and fro. The records of the expedition, the photo- 
graphs, and the precious film from which so much was hoped, 
and all hands were soon on board, and one hour after reaching 
the camp the Yelcho was steaming north again, no man of the 
twenty-two in worse state and most of them much better than 
when he left them, four months before. They had had a hard 
time of it with storms and cold. Again and again they had 
seen their prison bars of ice break and float away, reviving hope, 
but as often the ice came back locking them in more securely 
than before, until this last time when the ship and the oppor- 
tunity were on the spot together. Thanks to Wild's skill as a 
provider, to the constant attention of the two doctors, Macklin 
and Mcllroy, and to the loyalty of the scientific staff and 
officers, there had been no loss of life and no breakdown of 
discipline. The spirits of the party had been kept up through 
many threatening hours by Hussey's cheery playing of that 
ideal instrument for desolate camps, the banjo. Shackleton's 
labours were rewarded; he grew young again in vindicating 
his leadership. 

On 3rd September the Yelcho reached Punta Arenas, having 
announced her triumphant return by telephone from Rio Secco, 
a few hours before. The whole population turned out to 
receive them, the police having made a proclamation and rung 
the fire-bell to let every one know that great things were afoot. 
Every one felt a personal pride in the rescue, made in their ship, 
made by their people, and warm-hearted Chileans welcomed 


the strangers as they could never have expected to be welcomed 
even in their own country. They were conducted in a pro- 
cession from the mole to the chief hotel by all the public officials 
of the province and a Chilean band playing the British National 

Great men have passed by the sandy spit beside which the 
little town has grown up, and great incentives have fired their 
minds as they navigated the difiicult channels of Tierra del 
Fuego, but to those people on that day, and to many the world 
over for all time, there was no unfitness in adding the name of 
Shackleton who saved his comrades to the roll which, beginning 
with Magellan, who discovered the Strait, and Drake in the 
Golden Hind, goes on to Charles Darwin of the Beagle and to 
Allen Gardiner, the ardent missionary. Never had the spirit 
of British pluck and pertinacity shone more brightly in the 
sight of a friendly people, proud of their own fine share in the 
gallant and glorious adventure. 

Once more Shackleton was at the end of a cable, glad to have 
saved his men from the WeddeU Sea, scheming how to save 
those from the Ross Sea, terribly embarrassed by the ex- 
haustion of the Expedition's funds, grievously troubled by the 
decision of the AustraUan Committee that he was not required 
on board the Aurora. 

As regards the Ross Sea ReUef , the Committee was tripartite, 
responsible to three different governments which supplied the 
funds for repairing the Aurora and carrying out her voyage 
to the Ross Sea and back. The British Government paid half 
the cost, the Commonwealth Government of AustraHa and the 
Dominion Government of New Zealand shared the other half 
in proportion to the population of the respective countries. 
The New Zealand Government undertook the repairs of the 
Aurora at Port Chalmers and provisioned the ship. The 
Australian Committee had arranged that the ReHef Expedition 
should be imder the command of Captain J. K. Davis, than 
whom, in Shackleton's absence, no better leader could be foimd ; 
and on Shackleton's reappearance, though Davis, with the true 
instinct of a sailor, immediately placed his resignation in their 
hands, the Committee did not change its choice, and Davis 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 239 

continued to carry out the preparations. We believe that 
every one acted from a sense of duty ; and it is certain that 
Shackleton felt it to be his clamant duty as well as his legal 
right to command the relief expedition on his own ship, even 
though she had been refitted without his knowledge at the 
cost of others. He felt that he must proceed to New Zealand 
with all speed and go to the rescue of Mackintosh and his men. 
The world was out of joint, and all the great sea-routes com- 
pletely disorganized. He could not trust to catch a New Zea- 
land boat in England in time, and so arranged to travel via 
San Francisco. As to the difficulty of finances, the Chilean 
and Uruguayan Governments had behaved with great generosity, 
and friends at home provided funds to pay off the members of 
the Weddell Sea party whose claims their Boss was determined 
should be the first to be met. 

A pleasing duty was to thank the Presidents of Chile and 
Uruguay for their kindness, and the Chileans offered the Yelcho 
to take him and those of his party who proposed to travel that 
way to Valparaiso. On 27th September the little vessel entered 
the great bay round which the city rises tier on tier. Twenty- 
six years before he had seen that bay for the first time, when he 
was the least important person on the ship that brought him, 
the ship herself a mere incident of the day's business. Now the 
warships of the Chilean Navy were manned in his honour, and 
their flags dipped to the little Yelcho as she passed. Steam 
launches, electric launches, tugs, rowing-boats, all were out 
laden with a holiday crowd whose one desire was to see him, 
the hero of the hour, and they fell in line behind as his little 
steamer made for the quay, beyond which stretched the streets 
all crowded too. 

Next day at Santiago the President of the Republic received 
him and presented him with the Chilean Order of Merit in the 
presence of 30,000 spectators. At night there was a State 
banquet, and the British Minister said to Sir Ernest, " Evening 
dress, of course." Shackleton protested that he had only the 
blue serge suit bought from the whalers in South Georgia ; but 
with his characteristic resourcefulness he borrowed the necessary 
garments from the members of the Jockey Club, all eager to 


have a hand in rigging him out. After the banquet a flash-light 
photograph was taken, and the guest of honour asked the Pre- 
sident if he could have five copies. " Why do you want so 
many ? " was the not imnatural reply. " Well, your Excel- 
lency, you see I have on a sjmdicate suit, and I want every one 
who has a share in it to see the distinguished position his clothes 
occupied beside you." The President quaked with laughter at 
the quaint fancy, and each gentleman who had contributed an 
article of apparel got it back with a photograph bearing its name. 

He gave two lectures in the capital, and, forgetful of his 
desperate need of funds, devoted the proceeds of one to the 
British Red Cross Society, and of the other to local charities. 
A special train was prodded by the Government to carry him 
across the Andes, and so he entered the Argentine, and on to 
Uruguay where he thanked the President and Government 
at Montevideo. Thence he went to Buenos Aires, where he 
was greeted and feted as if, he put it rather touchingly, 
he "had made a triumph instead of having failed" in his 

An important result of the wave of enthusiasm which 
Shackleton's knight-errantry aroused in the three southern 
repubhcs was to turn the sympathy of many neutral and of 
some pro-German South Americans towards the Allies, and 
in this way it may well be that the ship's company of the 
Endurance served their country better in the Antarctic ice 
than they could have done in Flanders trenches. 

Early in October Shackleton was back in Valparaiso, and 
thence he sailed to Panama on the way by New Orleans and 
New York to San Francisco. On the steamer he wrote to his 

" I have had a tough time of it since leaving South Georgia. 
... I am old and tired, but you know I have been the 
means under Providence of carrying out the biggest saving of 
disaster that has ever been done in the Polar Regions, North 
or South." 

More than once in his correspondence he exclaims, •" I am 
sick of it all," and promptly adds, " but I must carry it through " ; 

ALL'S WELL. 191&-1917 241 

and again to a friend when on the voyage from San Francisco 
to WeUington : 

" I am deadly tired of it all. I mean, of course, the worry 
that I have with the Committee, and cannot understand why 
they are so set against my trying to rescue my own men." 

Outwardly, he was, as always, calm, cheery, and confident, 
determined to save his men in his own ship. Perhaps he did 
not realize that in his absence the Committees had been making 
all the necessary arrangements for the rescue of his men, and did 
not care to have their plans upset. 

In Wellington, Shackleton was among friends, and very soon 
all New Zealand, the public, the Press, and the Government, 
declared its faith in him. His financial troubles were reheved 
by a few friends who got together £5000 as a personal loan, 
which Shackleton accepted with gratitude and reluctance, 
assuring the lenders that if he were killed in the war it could 
never be repaid. Dr. Robert McNab, Minister of Marine, who 
had never met him before, was greatly impressed by an inter- 
view with him, and did all he could to help. Shackleton was 
at first fiercely insistent on his rights, but when he saw that 
time was pressing he rose superior to his pride and his legal 
rights, and with a magnanimity amazing to those who knew 
him little, he accepted the conditions that had been laid down, 
which gave him charge of any land-journeys that might be 
necessary in the far South, but left Davis in command of the 
expedition. . The New Zealand Government desired Shackleton 
to occupy the position of a passenger on board ; but he 
felt that this might possibly give rise to trouble, and on the 
authority of Mr. L. 0. H. Tripp, who was present, we are able 
to give in Shackleton's own words his reply to Dr. McNab : 

" I am sorry if we differ on this point, but you must excuse 
me when I say I know more about the sea than you, and I know 
you cannot have two captains on a ship ; and if I am on board 
and we get into trouble on the ice, half of the men will look to 
me, so I am determined that the officers and crew shall know 
that Davis is the captain and in entire command, and that I 
have signed on imder him." 


So he signed on as a supernumerary oflftcer of the Aurora 
under Davis. He knew himself that this was as big a thing 
as he had ever done, one of the greatest triumphs of the spirit 
which animated his great-great-grandfather, the friend of 
Burke. He felt keenly having to leave Worsley and Stenhouse 
behind, but circumstances made this inevitable. Once on board 
the Aurora southward boimd, his old happy temperament soon 
reasserted itself. He made things easy for his new captain and 
former subordinate, and Captain Davis assures us that, as of 
old, Shackleton was the most popular man on board the ship. 

The Aurora left Port Chalmers on 20th December flying 
the blue ensign with the burgee of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club, 
evidence that legally she was Shackleton's yacht. She made 
a quick run to the Ross Sea, where on loth January 1917 the 
old landmark. Mount Erebus, greeted Shackleton's eyes once 
more, with its calm ice-slopes and steady flag of steam. They 
reached Cape Royds with the Nimrod hut of happy memories, 
and Shackleton landed to visit the familiar scene. In the hut 
he found a letter stating that the Ross Sea Party had made 
their headquarters at Scott's wintering place at Cape Evans, 
opposite Inaccessible Island. A party of six men with a dog- 
sledge was seen approaching over the sea-ice from the south 
and soon they reached the ship. They had a moving tale to 

The southern party of 1915 had returned to Hut Point on 
26th March, after laying depots in 79° and in 80° S. but could 
not reach Cape Evans as the sea was open, and the Aurora 
lay there frozen in, as all beHeved, for the winter. It was early 
in June before the ice was firm enough for the party to make 
the journey of 15 miles, and when they reached Cape Evans 
they found that the Aurora had broken away in a blizzard on 
6th May before all the winter stores and equipment had been 
landed. Mackintosh, with nine companions, made the best 
they could of things for the winter, and early in October the 
depot-laying parties started the longest period of continuous 
sledge-travelling in polar annals. They laid depots in 81° and 
82° S., and on 27th January 1916, Mackintosh, with Joyce, 
Ernest Wild, Richards, and Hayward, made their last depot 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 248 

near Mt. Hope at the end of the Beardmore Glacier to secure 
the safe return of the trans-Antarctic party, Uttle dreaming 
that that section of the expedition had never landed and was 
now drifting on an ice-floe in the Weddell Sea, north of the 
Antarctic Circle, or that his own Aurora was fast in the ice north 
of the Balleny Islands, helpless to return to meet him. The 
return journey was more trying even than that of Captain Scott. 
Spencer Smith had been left helpless with scurvy in a camp 
several days before, and he was picked up and carried on a 
sledge. Mackintosh was weakening with the same disease. 
They were kept in camp for over a week with a howling blizzard. 
Food and fuel were nearly exhausted when, on 23rd February, 
they made a desperate effort to march. Most of the men were 
too weak, so a camp was made for the invalids, and Joyce, 
Richards, and Ha5rward pushed on with the four surviving 
dogs, all very feeble. They just managed to reach the depot 
at the Bluff, 70 miles south of Hut Point. No party ever had a 
narrower escape from perishing, as their food was exhausted 
and they were hardly able to eat when the stores were reached. 
After resting they returned to their stricken comrades on 
29th February in appalling weather. Mackintosh was now 
so weak that he, as well as Spencer Smith, had to be hauled on 
a sledge, and three days later Hayward was added to the load. 
The three men able to walk were very weak, and but for the dogs 
all would have perished. Thirty miles from Hut Point Mackin- 
tosh insisted on being left behind whUe the others went on with 
Ha5rward and Spencer Smith on the sledges. On 9th March 
Spencer Smith died after having been hauled by his comrades 
for six weeks over the Great Barrier; two days later they reached 
Hut Point. In a week the stronger men had gone back to 
Mackintosh's camp and had him in safety at Hut Point. 

It was then i8th March, and there was no ship. Never was a 
finer record of work done according to plan, and a great disaster 
averted by the devotion of whole-hearted men. They had 
travelled more than 1500 miles in 160 days. The fresh food 
at the hut soon dissipated the scurvy symptoms, and in a couple 
of months the health of all five was restored. Mackintosh was 
very anxious to get to Cape Evans to find out what had happened 


to the ship, and who were left there ; but again and again just 
as the sea-ice was getting strong enough to travel over, a blizzard 
broke it up and drove it out. The party grew more and more 
disturbed at the state of things, and at last, on 8th May, Mack- 
intosh and Hayward would wait no longer, but set off, the others 
not thinking it prudent to make the venture. A storm followed, 
and the tracks of the two men were traced to the broken edge 
of the ice, and then there was open water. The thoughtless 
daring which had carried Mackintosh through a life of dangers 
just escaped, had led at last to death. It was not until the 
middle of July 1916 that the three men could make their way 
from Hut Point to Cape Evans, where they joined the four 
who were wintering there, and now on the Aurora they told 
their story to their chief, whose heart was heavy within him 
to find that disaster had befallen this section of his expedition, 
though he was filled with pride, too, by the way in which the 
work they were sent to do had been done. 

Shackleton made several short excursions to search the 
coast and islands for any trace of the lost men, but none was 
found ; and on 19th January Davis took the Aurora out of 
M'Murdo Sound and made a rapid passage to Wellington, the 
port of return decided on by the New Zealand Government. 
Before the harbour was reached on 9th February, the world 
knew by wireless messages the tragedy of the Ross Sea party 
and the success of the last rescue. Civic receptions greeted 
the returned explorers in the principal cities of New Zealand, 
and at the earliest moment most of them joined the armed 
forces of the Empire, eager to take their part in the war. 

In accordance with the agreement entered into by the New 
Zealand Government, and concurred in by the governments of 
Austraha and Great Britain, the Aurora was handed back into 
Shackleton's possession without any claim being made on him 
for the cost of her repair, outfitting, or maintenance. In the 
state of the shipping market a good purchaser was easily 
found, and before he left New Zealand Shackleton had the 
pleasure of repa5dng the generous and spontaneous loan which 
his friends in the Dominion had pressed on him on his arrival. 
This was a vast relief; but before Shackleton's mind was at 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 246 

rest he had to come to an understandingjwith the Australian 
Committee, and to express his sympathy with Captain Mack- 
intosh's widow. The Committee met him in Melbourne; he 
demanded the reason of their exclusion of him from the com- 
mand of the Relief Expedition, and they gave it. There was 
plain speech on both sides with perfect control of temper, and 
in the end handshaking and mutual respect. " I have buried 
the hatchet," cabled Shackleton to a New Zealand friend, and 
all that need be remembered of the episode now is its happy 
ending. Members of the Committee appeared with Shackleton 
on the platform when he gave his lectures in aid of Mrs. Mack- 
intosh, and the crowded audiences provided more than a thou- 
sand pounds, which Shackleton handed over to her. 

Before leaving Wellington, Shackleton was persuaded 
to reduce to writing his personal experiences on the Endurance 
Expedition and the reliefs, lest they might be lost for 
ever if the explorer found the battlefields of Europe more fatal 
than those of the Antarctic. The pen was never a favoured 
implement with Shackleton, but happily Mr. Saunders, the 
congenial amanuensis who had taken down much of The 
Heart of the Antarctic from dictation, was available, and Mr. 
L. O. H. Tripp has supplied this vivid and characteristic picture 
of how part of South was written : 

" I shall never forget the occasion. I was sitting in a chair 
listening ; Shackleton walked up and down the room smoking 
a cigarette, and I was absolutely amazed at his language. He 
very seldom hesitated, but every now and then he would tell 
Saunders to make a mark, because he had not got the right 
word; but that was only occasionally. I watched him, and 
his whole face seemed to swell, and I could see the man was 
suffering. After about half an hour he turned to me and with 
tears in his eyes he said, * Tripp, you don't know what I've 
been through, and I am going through it all again, and I can't 
do it.' I would say, ' But we must get it down.' 

" He would go on for an hour and then all of a sudden 
would say, ' I can't do it — I must go and talk to the girls, or 
play tennis.' He walked out of the room as if he intended to 
go away, lit a cigarette, and then in about five minutes would 
come back and start again. The same thing happened after 
about another half hour or so. I could see that he was suffer- 


ing, and when he came to his sensation of a fourth presence, when 
crossing | the mountains, he turned round to me and said, 
' Tripp,' this is something I have not told you.* As far as I 
can remember, his account of crossing South Georgia has 
practically not been altered in revision." 

So the most thrilling chapter of South was written two years 
before the book could be published. As always, the thought of 
home surged up, and in his last letter from New Zealand to his 
wife he wrote : 

" I know you must have had a rotten time with many things, 
but I will do my best to see that all your troubles will be over 
and quietness in all ways be our portion. I have battled against 
great odds and extraordinary conditions for more than three 
years, and it is time that I should have a rest from it all. I 
would not alter or have changed one bit of the work and all its 
trials, for there is a feeling of power that I like, but at times 
I have grown very weary and lonely." 

Shackleton had now completed his task, begun with such 
high hopes in 1913, complicated with such mahgnity of fortune 
by the outbreak of war in 1914, reduced to failure by the im- 
precedented absence of summer conditions in the Antarctic 
simMner of 1914-15, spun out in the intolerable ice-drifts, the 
boat journey, and the repeated efforts to get back to Elephant 
Island in 1916, and now rounded off in 1917 by the return of the 
survivors of the Ross Sea Party. 

Those who had criticized most severely the too ambitious 
scheme of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition were foremost in 
acclaiming the splendid generalship of the retreat, and the 
courage, endurance, optimism, chivalry, and self-repression of 
the leader. Nor was it forgotten that the expedition, though 
failing in its main intention, was not barren of results. It 
added to the knowledge of the difl&cult art of Hving in conditions 
bordering on the minimmn at which Ufe can be sustained. It 
tested new forms of equipment and rations for polar travel. 
It accumulated useful meteorological information, which has 
still to be fully worked up and brought into relation with exist- 
ing knowledge ; and it threw great hght on the drift of the ice, 

ALL'S WELL. 1916-1917 24T 

both in the Weddell Sea and the Ross Sea. The depth of the 
Weddell Sea was ascertained at many points, adding to the 
information harvested by the Scotia and the Deutschland, and 
the mythical nature of Morrell's New South Greenland, which 
was clear enough to theoretical geographers before, was placed 
beyond the doubt of any reasonable person. Perhaps Shackleton 
himself would give the place of first importance to the strengthen- 
ing of old friendships, and the formation of new ties by the 
expedition. His confidence in his old and tried comrade, Frank 
Wild, required no confirmation, but Shackleton always gave 
to him the chief credit for the safety of the Elephant Island 
party. New friends like Worsley, Stenhouse, Mcllroy, Macklin, 
Hussey, Wordie, and other members of the scientific staff who 
came into his life in the expedition, were destined to remain 
closely associated with him to the end ; while the generous help 
extended by the people of South Georgia, South America, and 
New Zealand, and the friendships arising from it, brightened 
his later years. 

Shackleton's brother-in-law, Professor Charles Sarolea, in 
a retrospect of his life and character in the Contemporary Review, 
says : 

" In the popular estimate Shackleton was the spoilt child 
of fortune, the successful young adventurer whose face wore 
a perpetual smile because luck had always been smiling on 
him. And it is quite true that he did achieve an extraordinary 
measure of success. But we have hinted how adverse fortune 
had dogged his steps throughout his career, and how his great- 
ness mainly appears in his cheerful and dauntless struggle 
against the obstacles which a cruel fate threw in his path. The 
one expedition which fully reveals him and which survives for 
all time in the annals of heroism, is the expedition which in a 
sense was a complete failure. * II y a des dif aites triomphantes 
4 Tenvi des victoires.' " 

{PRO PATRIA. 1917-1919 

" To set the cause above renown, 

To love the game beyond the prize. 
To honour, while you strike him down. 

The foe that comes with feariess eyes ; 
To count the life of battle good. 

And dear the land that gave you biri:h ; 
And dearer yet the brotherhood 

That binds the brave of all the earth." 

H. Newbolt. 

THE affairs of the ill-starred Trans-Antarctic Expedition 
being so far settled, all who had been on it were free to 
take their places in the fighting forces of the Empire, and 
Shackleton set out on his long journey home filled with patriotic 
ardour to place his services at the disposal of the Government. 
And as he went on his way he seized every opportunity to fan 
the flame of patriotism, whose gay spontaneous outburst had 
begun to waver under the threat of universal compulsory 
service. At Sydney, on 20th March 1917, he addressed a vast 
audience of 11,000 persons with tremendous effect, and the 
Australian Government printed a summary of the speech as a 
recruiting pamphlet, which was distributed by the hundred 
thousand, and produced far-reaching results. The speech 
was short and intense, the gist of it lay in these opening 
sentences : 

" To you men and women of Australia I have something 
to say. I come from a land where there are no politics and no 
clashing of personal interest. For nearly two years I heard 
nothing and knew nothing of what was happening in the civilized 
lands. Then I came back to a world darkened by desperate 


PRO P ATRIA, 191T-1919 249 

strife, and as people told me of what had happened during 
those two years I realized one great thing, and that was this : 

" To take your part in this war is not a matter merely of 
patriotism, not a matter merely of duty or of expediency ; 
it is a matter of the saving of a man's soul and of a man's 
own opinion of himself. 

" We lived long dark days in the South. The danger of the 
moment is a thing easy to meet, and the courage of the moment 
is in every man at some time. But I want to say to you that 
we Uved through slow dead days of toil, of struggle, dark striving 
and anxiety ; days that called not for heroism in the bright 
light of day, but simply for dogged persistent endeavour to do 
what the soul said was right. It is in that same spirit that we 
men of the British race have to face this war. What does the 
war mean to Australia ? Everything. It means as much to 
you as though the enemy was actually beating down your gate. 
This summons to fight is a call imperative to the manhood 
within you." 

Three weeks later Shackleton reached San Francisco, and 
found that the United States had entered the War on 6th April. 
During his short stay in America he addressed many meetings, 
striving to make the people at San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, 
Tacoma, Chicago, and Pittsburgh realize how closely their country 
was involved in the great issue being fought out in Europe, and 
helping to fan the rising war-spirit in Washington, Baltimore, 
Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. In America he was 
welcomed as an old friend, and the dinner given him by the 
Bohemian Club of San Francisco, with a series of complimentary 
songs written for the occasion, was one of the finest tributes to 
his popularity that he had ever received. His lecture in San 
Francisco drew an audience of 8000. 

At New York he received the very rare distinction of being 
elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Museum of 
Natural History, a conspicuous tribute to his services to 

Before the end of May he was in London, happy to be 
home. He was received by the King, to whom he handed 
back the flag which, though it had not been carried across 
Antarctica, had flown over many forlorn camps in strange 


and perilous places, and had been shown with dramatic effect 
at recruiting meetings in the farthest outposts of the Empire. 

Shackleton spent a week-end immedately after his return 
at the little house in Eastbourne, which his wife had taken as 
a measure of economy ; but the sound of the distant guns in 
Flanders, which rose in the stillness of the evening and throbbed 
all night during those dreadful years, affected him so deeply 
that he could not stay, and rushed back to London to obey their 
call and enlist. He was persuaded to wait until a post could 
be found suited to his peculiar powers of organization and 
command, but he chafed at the delay. He envied his comrades 
who were already in the thick of it ; and to his nephew, 
Jack Sarolea, who had joined up as soon as his age permitted, 
he wrote : 

"I have heard . . . of all your doings, and I send you this line 
to congratulate you on doing your bit in this great world-struggle. 
You have made good, and though it is stem and hard and means 
more than discomfort, you will always have the satisfaction that 
you are in the forefront, and every one there is the protector of 
the helpless ones who cannot fight. May you go on as you are 
doing, safeguarded by God, and win through, my dear chap. — 
Your affectionate uncle, Ernest Shackleton." 

It might have been expected that Shackleton would have 
taken to the sea again, but he had never forgiven the Admiralty 
for refusing him admission to the Navy in 1903, and he would 
not place himself at their mercy now. He had thought out a 
plan for a winter invasion of Germany and Hungary by a 
Russian army equipped for rapid movement over the snow by 
methods which he had perfected in the Antarctic, and for more 
than a month he remained in an alternation of hope and anxiety 
waiting for a decision on his plans from Petrograd. Nothing came 
of this scheme, nor of plans that had been put forward for his 
service in transport work on the French front, or in Italy, 
or in connection with the Ministry of Food in co-ordinating 
the supply of foodstuffs to the Allies ; though this he considered 
" too soft a job." 

Privately he was in distress as to the final adjustment of the 

PRO PATEIA. 1917-1919 251 

financial responsibilities of his expedition, and the preparation 
and disposal of the kinematograph film, which was the chief asset 
remaining. It was hopeless at that time to attempt the pubHca- 
tion of his book, and he refused to lecture except for charities, 
not wishing to make any profit for himself until the War was 
over. One lecture he did give at Ramsgate, where the benefactor 
of the expedition, Miss Stancomb-Wills, one of the town 
councillors, took the chair, and he was able to thank her publicly 
in her own town, where she kept up a hospital throughout the 
almost incessant air raids during the whole time of the war. He 
appeared at the Browning Settlement as its President, and he 
and Lady Shackleton were received by Queen Alexandra, whose 
interest in the expedition and the explorer was unfailing. 

At length, about the beginning of September, the way was 
cleared for national service, but not on the War front. Sir 
Edward Carson, then the head of the Department of Informa- 
tion engaged in disseminating correct views as to the aims of 
the Allies in neutral countries, appointed Sir Ernest Shackleton, 
with the assent of the Foreign Office, to take charge of special 
inquiries in South and Central America. In a letter dated 
22nd September 1917, Sir Edward defined the duties of this 
mission : 

" (i) Thoroughly to examine the already existing pro- 
pagandist agencies and to assist in spreading propaganda for 
the Allies. 

" (2) To suggest to the Department of Information at the 
Foreign Office, after consultation with His Majesty's Ministers 
and Consuls and the local propaganda committees, changes or 
extensions which appear to you desirable." 

These instructions were very wide, and left Shackleton with 
a free hand to carry out his investigations and formulate his 
suggestions in his own way. The wave of popularity which 
his efforts for the rescue of his comrades had raised in the three 
southern republics a year before had prepared the way for him, 
and assured him of a reception more cordial and a confidence 
in his personal qualities more complete than any other British 
subject at that time could command. He liked the job, felt 


that he was specially fitted for it, and although the appointment 
carried no salary and required the whole of his time and attention, 
he welcomed it with all his heart. Strange work it seems for 
a man of action whose strength lay in struggling against physical 
dangers and hardships ; but the War demanded of most men 
new labour in unfamiliar fields. Nor was this altogether so 
unfamiliar as those who only knew Shackleton as an explorer 
might suppose ; for he had always been successful in personal 
negotiations with people of importance, and he knew his own 

The glad hurry of preparation was broken in on by a summons 
to Sandringham, where the King wished to hear the lecture on 
the Endurance Expedition, and see the photographs and kinema- 
tograph film. Everything passed off perfectly, and still glowing 
from the Royal visit Shackleton sailed from Liverpool on 17th 
October, on board the Lapland. The future looked more rosy 
than ever before, and his spirits were high. To the dangers of 
running the gauntlet of the German submarines he never gave 
a thought. Before saiUng he wrote to his wife : 

" Now . . . you are not to worry in any way about 
me. I will be all right, and will write to you at every oppor- 
tunity, so it is not the same as going away last time in any 
way. ... I think, darling, I will be able to speak to you once 
more on the telephone. I have the ball at my feet now, I 
must kick hard but carefully. All my love to you. Bless you. 
— ^Your own old ' Micky.' " 

A final farewell from the steamer in the Mersey was full of 
gratitude to the friends who had helped him, and overflowing 
with love to his children whose letters gave him the most lively 

The voyage was long, as the route involved wide detours to 
avoid the danger of submarines, and Shackleton dismissed it 
briefly in a letter from New York as " dull, but safe." At 
New York he made inquiries which decided him to pass Central 
America by in the meantime, and proceed direct to Buenos 
Aires, as he believed the Argentine to be the country where 
British interests were most in want of attention at the time. 

PRO PATRIA, 1917-1919 253 

He sailed on board the Vestris on 3rd November with a crowd 
of American business men, all bent on pushing the trade of the 
United States in South America at this favourable juncture, 
when German trade was dead, and British trade strangled by 
war risks and restrictions. He landed at Barbados, Bahia, 
and Rio, where he felt the heat severely, and suffered from a 
bad cold and sore throat. Nevertheless, he lectured for a 
nautical charity in the saloon, and before the end of November 
he had reached Buenos Aires, and taken up his quarters at 
the Plaza Hotel. Here he was joined by Mr. Alan MacDonald, 
who had been so helpful to him in Punta Arenas the previous 
year, and whose knowledge of Argentine commercial life was 
now very useful. 

The work was necessarily of an extremely confidential kind, 
involving the study of the personal character and foibles of the 
of&cial and political personages in the capital, and the com- 
mercial policy and intrigues of the cosmopoHtan mercantile 
houses. It was apt to touch the susceptibilities of the existing 
diplomatic and pohtical agents, and certain to call forth the 
strongest hatred and opposition from all those engaged in 
German interests, the strength of which in South America was 
perhaps never fully realized at home. He found the methods 
of British propaganda to be slow, cumbrous, and terribly waste- 
ful. In one store he saw nine hundred bales, weighing from 50 
to 80 lb. each, full of printed matter, awaiting distribution, but 
all of it utterly out of date and useless for present needs. He 
insisted on having a telegraphic news service with local printing, 
and prompt publication of all matters of interest regarding 
Allied poUcy and successes. His first telegram from Buenos 
Aires to the Foreign Office asked for the immediate dispatch 
of five dozen model tanks, in order to let the wonders of the new 
arm become familiar, and teach the lesson of the superiority 
of the AUies in the invention of new and legitimate methods 
of warfare. Though now himself engaged in the exciting 
operations of a secret mission, he could not accustom himself to 
the institution of the Censorship, which seemed to paralyse 
his power of expression, even on purely personal matters in his 
private correspondence. Living in luxury in the great city 


h« felt, he says, more homesick for his children than he ever 
did in the Antarctic snow deserts, and indeed it is strange to 
see how much his domestic affairs dwelt in his mind throughout 
all this South American sojourn. Not a letter home failed to 
contain kind messages to the old servants, one of whom had 
remained faithful to the family since they first set up house 
in Edinburgh, and in the midst of his exacting duties he was 
interesting himself in the welfare of her relatives. 

Early in 191 8 the increased intensity of the British propa- 
ganda, largely due to Shackleton's work in connection with 
kinematograph films of the War, began to excite keen resent- 
ment from beyond the Andes, where German influence was 
paramount in Southern Chile. An anonymous letter from a 
German, daring Shackleton to come to Chile, where he would 
be promptly assassinated, was an invitation that he could not 
refuse. He went to Santiago on 20th January, and remained 
for a week in cool defiance of all threats. No attack was 
made on him, and his quick response produced its impression. 
On another occasion his motor-car was only saved from a 
barbed wire that had been stretched across the road by the 
keen sight of the driver. As regards the two countries. Shackle- 
ton formed the view that the Argentines were more open to an 
appeal to their higher feelings with regard to declaring for the 
Allies, whereas, in Chile, commercial interests were preponderant, 
and the appeal which would be most effective there would be 
to the economic advantages of joining the winning side. 

On returning to Buenos Aires he resumed his activities in 
placing before the Spanish-speaking public a clear picture of 
German aims in South America, and the ambition to make 
the temperate portion of that continent a greater Germany. 
A map showing the political divisions of South America as they 
are, and as the German propagandists would hke them to be, 
put this argument in a very telling form. 

The summer of 1917-18 was very hot, and Shackleton was 
never happy in hot weather. He kept in condition by having 
three days of golf a week, starting on his round at 6 a.m. and 
returning for breakfast and the day's work. His final report 
was a document of great interest, but it is unnecessary to deal 

PRO PATRIA. 1917-1919 255 

with it in detail, even if it were permissible to refer more pre- 
cisely to a confidential paper. He made many suggestions for 
improving British prestige in South America, and retained to 
the end the good opinion of the British Minister, who acknow- 
ledged ofiicially that he was most grateful for the help afforded 
to the Legation by Sir Ernest. 

The work of the special mission to the South American 
republics came to an end in the middle of March, when Shackleton 
left Buenos Aires and travelled by Valparaiso and the west coast 
to Panama, closely attended by persons whom he suspected of 
being German spies, intent on observing and reporting his 
doings. When he reached New Orleans, the United States 
police arrested one of these followers and found that the 
suspicion was fully justified. On his way to New York, Shackle- 
ton stopped at Washington to confer with the British Ambas- 
sador, and towards the end of April he embarked for home, and 
refers thus to the voyage in a letter to a friend : 

" At last I can sit down and write a line to you without the 
feeling that the Censor is at my elbow. ... I came from New 
York ... in a convoy. We were twelve ships in all, and 
carried 25,000 United States troops. When we got to] the 
danger zone, about 500 miles west of Ireland, we were| met 
by seven destroyers ; and it was a good job, because the next 
day we were attacked by two submarines, but before 'they 
could discharge a torpedo one of our destroyers dropped a 
depth charge and blew up one of thel Huns ;1 the i other 
cleared off. We had 3000 troops on our ship. I was put in 
charge of No. 7 \ boat in case of emergencies, and fgiven 50 
soldiers for that boat, the colonel commanding the regiment, 
and the major, also the 8 civilian passengers, amongst) whom 
were an Archbishop, his chaplain, an American parson, and 
four Labour Members. I said to the captain, 'Why do you 
give me all that crowd ? ' He said, ' You know more about 
boats than any of us, and if anything happened, there would be 
a fuss if the Archbishop was lost, but there would be the dickens 
to pay if the Labour Members were drowned ! ' Anyhow, we 
got in safely, and I am glad." 

He arrived home quite unexpectedly, as he would not let 
his wife know when he was crossing, to save her the suspense 


and anxiety ; the early summer of 191 8 being the most critical 
period of the war, with a maximum of submarine activity and 
daily news of the German advance in France on what was not 
yet recognized as their last great push. 

During May and June Shackleton remained in London, 
writing reports and articles on South America, addressing 
meetings frequently in the country, including a stirring speech 
on the value of discipline to Boy Scouts on Empire Day, and 
with the authority of the Foreign Office fitting out a commercial 
expedition to Spitsbergen for the Northern Exploration Com- 
pany. He kept on offering his services for active war work to 
all the Departments, and at last was given a commission as 
Major. The first effect of this appointment was simply 
relief from the intolerable burden of appearing in the streets 
in civilian clothes while still in the prime of life and full 
activity. There had been irritating sneers in the frivolous 
Press at his long rest before joining up, the facts of the South 
American mission being necessarily kept from the public. One 
jibe was that as he had been seen about the Food Ministry 
on several occasions, he was hoping to be appointed Ice 

The position for which he was destined by the War Ofiice was 
to take charge of winter equipment for the North Russian 
Expedition ; but between his appointment and the organiza- 
tion of the expedition he hoped to find time to accompany the 
Northern Exploration 'party to Spitsbergen. He left Aberdeen 
in the beginning of August on board the Ella, got across to 
Norway and through the Inner Lead among the islands as far 
as Tromso, crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time, and 
strongly impressed by the contrast of open sea and warm summer 
weather with the ice-bound frigidity of his familiar Antarctic. 
Frank Wild had joined the party, and ultimately went to Spits- 
bergen as its leader. Another hero of the Endurance, Mcllroy, 
who had been severely wounded in the war, had recovered 
sufficiently to go as surgeon, and Shackleton was full of delight 
at the prospect of being with them again in polar conditions. 
Delays for which he was in no way responsible had protracted 
the voyage and kept them long in ports where there was little 

Photo.] [Swaine, 

Major Sir Ernest Shackleton, C.V.O., aged 44. 

Face p. 256. 

PRO PATRIA, 1917-1919 257 

to see and nothng to buy, for the neutrality of Norway had not 
saved that country from a food shortage far more severe than 
that at home. Just as the Ella was ready to set out from 
Tromso, Shackleton received an order from the War Of&ce to 
return at once, as the equipment for the winter campaign of 
the North Russian Expeditionary Force had to be got ready 
with all speed. 

He hastened back by the fastest route and, arriving in London 
at the end of August, he had six weeks of the most strenuous 
work of his life in getting the equipment together. The War 
Office adopted the system of shelter, clothing, food, and trans- 
port exactly as he had worked it out in his successive Antarctic 
expeditions. Tents, clothes, boots, sledges, cookers, and rations 
had to be ordered and their manufacture supervised, and on 
8th October Shackleton was again at sea bound north, and 
dodging the submarines with as little thought of danger as 
when he was dodging the floes and icebergs of the Antarctic. 

After some days Lady Shackleton received a telephone call 
from him at Newcastle saying that the ship would put into a 
Scottish ,port for a few hours, and asking her to come north 
for dinner with old friends. She set out by the first train 
and found the party assembled in the North British Hotel, 
when she reached Edinburgh. It was one of the gayest 
leave-takings of that period of high-strung partings, and 
Shackleton, Worsley, and Hussey were boys together again, as 
they had been on the return from Elephant Island, while the 
friends of fourteen years before saw him as he was when first 
he alarmed the douce burgesses of Edinburgh by his impetuous 

The field of action of the North Russian Expedition was on 
the Russian shore of the Arctic Sea along the Murman coast, 
which adjoins Norway in the Varanger Fjord, and is reached 
by rounding the North Cape, and in the White Sea lying farther 
east. A single-line railway runs from Petrograd northward to 
a terminus at Murmansk, near the Norwegian frontier, which 
is never blocked by ice. Archangel in the south of the White 
Sea is the terminus of another railway from the interior ; but 
this port is inaccessible on account of ice, except for a few months 


in summer and autumn. There was a German army in Finland, 
the well-known objective of which was the occupation of the 
Munnan region, with a view to establishing a submarine base 
either at Murmansk or Petchenga. There was also active 
opposition by Bolshevist forces, the Soviet Government having 
at length shown its hand, and declared against the Allies. The 
Allied Forces, consisting at first of a mere handful of troops 
and of naval ratings landed from the warships, had been re- 
inforced by various Alhed contingents and strengthened by the 
enrolment of local recruits, but they were still woefully weak 
for the task assigned them. Those at Archangel were under 
the command of Major-General W. E. Ironside, whilst those at 
Murmansk were commanded by Major-General C. M. Maynard, 
to whose staff Major Sir Ernest Shackleton was attached as 
Advisor on such matters as equipment, clothing, rations, and 
transport for mobile columns. He was given a free hand in 
his work, and to his great delight had secured as assistants a 
number of his old polar comrades. Worsley and Stenhouse 
were lent by the Navy, and Hussey and Mackhn transferred 
from other parts of the Army. " Syren " was a code word 
indicating the Murmansk force, as " Elope " indicated that at 

The journey north on the transport was slow and cautious, 
but it was like going home to meet the sharp breezes of the 
Arctic after the harassing year with its two exhausting summers, 
the first in Buenos Aires, the second following on in London, 
with no winter between. 

As he reached the polar regions again with all his new duties 
pressing on him, his thoughts were of home, and he wrote to 
his son Ray, aged 13, who was preparing for his first term at 
Harrow : 

" We are now up in cold weather, but it is clear and fine, 
and at night there is a wonderful aurora swinging across the 
sky. The moon lies low on the horizon, and circles the head of 
the world. You could write a poem of all the glory of this 
wonderful North. I want you to^send me copies of any that 
you have written ; and do keep it up, for the love of poetry is 
good, no matter whether one's life is carried on at home or in the 

PRO PATRIA. 1917-1919 259 

wild places of the world. I am sure you will like Harrow ; and 
even if the comfort is not much you will get used to it all, and 
to be amongst boys who some time may be great in the work 
of the world is good. You know, my dear boy, there is no reason 
why you yourself should not get on also ; work now, that is the 
main thing ; but keep up your boxing as well, for that combines 
all exercise. Mummy wants you to be good at cricket too, and 
at Harrow you will have opportunity enough. . . . Write to me 
occasionally, and when home for the holidays keep things nice 
and smooth, for you are the eldest, and you are the man in the 
house, as I am so much away. God bless you, Sonny. — Your 
loving Daddy." 

Shackleton tried to settle down at General Maynard's head- 
quarters at Murmansk, telling his friends he had at last got a 
job after his own heart — " winter sledging, with a fight at the 
end of it " ; but sad to say no opportunity for armed encounters 
came his way, and the man who all his Hfe had been a fighter by 
nature, was in the end denied what would have been the crown- 
ing happiness of meeting his country's enemies in the field. 
As things turned out, it proved imperative that he should 
remain at headquarters occupied with rather humdnun work on 
stores and instruction in the use of Arctic equipment, but he 
found the quarters pleasant — " more of a happy family than a 
rigid mess," and the country round was novel and attractive 
in the polar night, with its snow-covered hills clothed with 
dwarf forest, and beautiful lakes in the hollows. So his friends 
pictured him as winter drew on, watching over the mobile 
columns which were to keep the lawless countryside in order, 
now that the Armistice of nth November had stopped the 
Great War ; but one night in December, as Lady Shackleton was 
crossing the dark hall of the house in Eastbourne, the door 
opened and he was there. 

General Maynard, who was in command at Murmansk, had 
been summoned home, and Shackleton had accompanied him on 
a fast cruiser, one of their tasks being to get fresh equipment to 
meet the new conditions, for the force was not to be withdrawn at 
the end of the German menace. The short stay in London was 
a tremendous rush of official work, with snatches of the wild 
excitement that submerged Society when the heavy restraints 


of four years of war were suddenly relieved. Shackleton was 
in close attendance on his general, giving him the loyal and 
affectionate service to which he had long been accustomed 
from his own tried followers, and accompanying him to Buck- 
ingham Palace for an audience of the King before returning 
to the far North. 

The way back was by rail to Invergordon, for the Cromarty 
Firth was still an important naval base, known merely as 
" somewhere in Scotland." On Christmas Eve, Lieutenant 
A. S. Griffith, R.N.R., of H.M.S. Mars, received orders to land 
a working party to transfer the baggage of General Maynard 
and Major Sir Ernest Shackleton from the naval train to the 
transport TJmtali, which was lying in the firth. It came to him 
like a flash that this was the Mike with whom he had played 
truant from Dulwich College in the Sydenham woods more 
than thirty years before, with whom he had plotted to run 
away to sea, and whom he had never met again. The meeting 
of Mike and Griff can be imagined. They were both boys 
again, and their work finished, they spent Christmas Day in 
living over the old times when they hatched plans of wild 
adventure which, marvellously indeed, had fallen infinitely 
short of reality. Shackleton noticed a telephone on Griffith's 
table in the Mars, and said he would give a lot for a last talk 
with his wife. Arrangements were made for the line to be 
cleared through to Eastbourne for ten minutes at 1.30 p.m., 
and prompt to time the conversation took place through 650 
miles of wire, and every word distinct. " Never write when 
you can phone," was always his maxim. Lady Shackleton 
was just beginning to carve the Christmas turkey for the 
expectant children, when the telephone bell broke in on the 

That night Shackleton joined in a regular sailors' Christmas 
party in the ward-room of H.M.S. Dublin, and never had he 
been more boisterously exuberant than amongst his new naval 
friends, with his old chum by his side. 

On his return to Murmansk he resumed the routine duties 
of his post, and was satisfied to find that his equipment had 
practically stopped frost-bite. The men with whom he came 

PRO PATRIA. 1917-1919 261 

in contact responded to his sympathetic appeal. One of them, 
writing long afterwards to a newspaper, said : 

" How I recall his striking figure during the North Russian 
campaign daily exhorting by his magnetic influence suffering 
humanity to greater tasks. . . . Eccentric in some ways ; 
almost totally unheedful of cold, and clothed lightly for such 
parts, Shackleton forced upon all whom he encountered a 
lasting impression of real merit. An idol of the mobile columns, 
an inspiration to all, he aided materially the moral of the troops 
and effectively equipped the entire Russian Force against the 
rigours of winter with a scrupulous thoroughness." 

How he impressed his superiors may be judged from Sir 
Charles Maynard's recollections, which cannot be presented 
better than in his own words : 

" I must admit that I heard the news of Shackleton's appoint- 
ment with somewhat mixed feelings. Whilst I was only too 
anxious to get the assistance of some one with a wide experience 
of such conditions as those obtaining in North Russia during 
winter, I was not certain that Shackleton was the right man 
for the job. I had never met him, but the impression I had 
gathered from hearsay was that he was somewhat dictatorial 
if not overbearing ; and that, though doubtless a fine leader of 
men, he was unlikely to accept gladly a subordinate position. 
Events soon proved, however, that my fears on this score were 
totally unfounded, for from the moment of his arrival to the 
time of his departune in the spring of 1919, he gave me of his 
very best, and his loyalty from start to finish was absolute. 
He fitted at once into the niche awaiting him, and both he and 
his friends of past Antarctic expeditions who were working with 
him laid themselves out unreservedly to further the interests 
of my Force. 

" As was natural, Shackleton had a great hold on the imagina- 
tion of the men, who were keenly interested in hearing him 
tell of his past experiences, and ready to take to heart the lessons 
he inculcated. He proved a cheerful and amusing companion, 
and during the long, dark winter of 1918-19, his presence did 
much to keep us free from gloom and depression. He became 
almost at once a member of the happy family of which my 
Headquarters Staff consisted, taking and giving his full share 
of chaff, and pulling his weight in helping to provide amuse- 
ments and entertainments for all ranks. 


" Needless to say, I found his expert knowledge of the 
utmost value, and the equipment provided on his advice proved 
entirely satisfactory. His experience was especially useful in 
drawing up regulations for the loading and packing of sledges 
for employment with mobile columns. 

" My private relations with him were of the most cordial 
nature throughout the whole of the time in North Russia. I 
admired him for his splendid record as a leader, and as a man 
of strong will and determination ; but I also formed a very close 
attachment with him as a personal friend. It will be long 
before I forget the hurried trip to England which I paid with 
him in December 1918. Both on the journey and during 
our stay in England he insisted on acting as a sort of glorified 
A.D.C. to me, doing all in his power to help me in of&cial 
matters, and to save me worry and trouble over private arrange- 
ments. Here was a very different Shackleton from the Shackle- 
ton I envisaged when I was first informed that he was to be 
attached to my headquarters. 

" Whilst with me, Shackleton showed himself a man of extra- 
ordinary energy and of many interests. Quite apart from 
his work of exploration, he took an active part in many schemes, 
having for their object the development abroad of British 
trade; and though doubtless — as was only natural — his own 
business interests were those which concerned him chiefly, 
he always had at heart the interests of the Empire as a whole. 
For the British Empire was to him a very real thing, a heritage 
of great worth, the maintenance and expansion of which was 
the primary duty of every Britisher." 

Early in 1919 Shackleton had satisfied himself that the 
North Russian Force would not be likely to pass a second 
winter in the far north, and that his usefulness in that field had 
come to an end. He felt therefore that he was justified in 
resigning his commission, which he did on 9th February. He 
had seen something of the potential wealth of Northern Russia, 
and felt that it would be a great thing for British trade if a con- 
cession could be obtained for the development of a large tract 
of land by British capital. At the same time he recognized 
that if he could negotiate such a concession from the existing 
government of North Russia, which remained independent of 
the Moscow Soviet, he would at one stroke solve aU his own 
financial problems, and find the fortune that he always believed 
he was destined to enjoy. Accordingly, being free of the army, 

PRO P ATRIA. 1917-1919 268 

he made a remarkable overland journey from Soroka on the 
Murmansk railway to Archangel, a distance of 200 miles through 
forests and across great snowy wastes, and there he succeeded in 
his scheme, and saw the future golden before him as he had seen it 
so often before. Had not the Moscow Soviet proved far more 
powerful, and the Northern Soviet weaker than could be suspected 
at the time, both he and his country, and above all the people 
of the North, would have profited immensely. The disappoint- 
ment, like the Nemesis of all his happy dreams, came later. For 
the moment there were difficulties enough to make life keenly 
worth living, and hopes enough to compensate for all rebuffs. 
At Archangel he met his old friend of the Nimrod expedition. 
Dr. Eric Marshall, who, ever since his return from the Antarctic, 
had been exploring in the remotest forests of the tropics until 
the War called him home. Then there was the return journey 
to Murmansk in the polar dawn at the end of February, and a 
month later, Shackleton was home again after one of the 
stormiest voyages of his experience in crossing the North Sea. 

The War was over and Shackleton was free to turn to his 
own affairs, which had been much neglected and were sadly 
embarrassed. In April he was able to spend four days with 
his family at Eastbourne, " the longest time at home for the last 
five years," he declared in a letter. He was suffering from 
a bad attack of neuritis and was very tired. The prospects 
before him were dark, but his indomitable optimism shone as 
cheerily as ever. He set himself to lecturing all over the country 
" to keep the pot boiling " ; he gave much time to the cor- 
rection of the proofs of South, which was at last published 
in November. He wasted weeks of superhuman labour on the 
North Russian Concession, which had been so full of promise 
in spring, but withered away with the fall of the leaf. He took 
up a new and most attractive scheme for the cheap production 
of agricultural fertilizers on a large scale. 

In autumn, during the railway strike, he was remobilized for 
the purpose of organizing the London omnibus service in case 
there was a general strike of transport workers ; but happily this 
did not arise. He suffered frequently from chills and sciatica ; 
but only mentioned this to sigh for the health and freedom 


from worry in his beloved Antarctic. The scheming and 
selfishness of the business world were pecuUarly hateful to him, 
and indeed he was singularly imfortunate. South proved an 
immediate success so far as sales went ; but he had been forced 
to assign the royalties to the executors of one of the guarantors 
of the expenses of the Aurora, who had verbally assured him 
that if disaster overtook the expedition his loan would be 
viewed as a gift. But he had died, his sons had been killed 
in the War, and the executors took a strictly legal view of their 
rights. The effort to get a hall for the exhibition of his film 
taxed his strength and temper sorely, and no use could be made 
of the greatest asset of the Endurance Expedition until the year 
was almost done. Even then the superior business acumen 
of others promised to make his share of the proceeds of the work 
which he had risked his life and pledged his fortune to produce, 
a mere fraction of the prospective profits. In the midst of the 
luxury and excitement of London, Shackleton was harder put 
to it than when drifting on the floes in the Weddell Sea, or 
crossing the mountains of South Georgia ; yet through it all 
he kept to the faith that he was only " bafiled to fight better." 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 

" We are the fools who could not rest 
In the dull earth we left behind. 
But burned with passsion for the South 

And drank strange frenzy from its wind. 
The world where wise men hve at ease 

Fades from our unregretful eyes, 
And blind across uncharted seas 
We stagger on our enterprise." 

St. John Lucas as quoted by E. H. S. 

THE first exhibition of the film illustrating the voyage of the 
Endurance, and showing the long-drawn-out agony of 
her final destruction and engulfment by the ice, was 
given in the Albert Hall on 19th December 191 9, when the Earl 
of Athlone presided over a large audience. The boat which 
carried the forlorn hope from Elephant Island to South Georgia 
was to have been on view in the hall, and it had been brought 
to the doors on a lorry where it had to remain outside, because 
it could not pass through the doorways. The James Caird 
arrived at the last moment, or Shackleton would have had it in 
the destined place on the platform ; he had often done more 
impossible things than to take a boat to pieces, or widen a door- 
way, but to do so requires a little time. The lecture was a 
success ; never before had an audience seen such moving scenes 
under the guidance of the man who had Hved through them. 
By a flash of his true character which baffled the comprehension 
of those who failed to see his greatness, the whole proceeds 
were given to the funds of the Middlesex Hospital. 

One of the few short rests of his life included a Christmas 
at home at Eastbourne, where Shackleton appeared in the 

congenial role of Father Christmas for the special delectation 



of his youngest boy, who sleepily refused to look at the stranger 
trying to rouse him in the middle of the night. The rest was 
short, and before the end of the year Shackleton had embarked 
on a series of lectures on the Endurance Expedition, illustrated 
by his marvellous film, at the Philliarmonic Hall in Great Port- 
land Street. He carried on this work almost without a break 
for five months, giving two demonstrations of two hours each 
daily for six days every week. Towards the end he added 
a fifth hour per day, to give special shows to the children of the 
London County Council schools. The physical exertion was 
enormous, and he felt it tell on his strength ; the mental strain 
was also great, for he practically lived all those months with 
the wreck of his ship and the shattering of his hopes always 
before his eyes. Repetition, of course, brought a certain 
merciful callousness, but the undercurrent of a sense of failure 
so repugnant to his nature could not be stopped. The few 
occasions on which he was compelled to ask Wild to lecture for 
him, a duty which that staunch friend never shirked, however 
little he liked it, brought small relief. One of these involved a 
journey to Scotland to give his lecture to his old Society, the 
Royal Scottish Geographical, at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, 
and Aberdeen. Several times he was summoned to the death- 
bed of his father, who had been hopelessly ill for two years ; 
but twice he got away to Harrow-on-the-Hill to see his son 
Ray, and address the boys ; and once he stole one of his preci- 
ous Sundays to greet the Browning Settlement at Walworth of 
which he was still the president. 

The hard labour of the platform was not without its brighter 
touches. The hundredth lecture was made the occasion of a 
reunion of his old comrades, no fewer than nine of them support- 
ing him on the platform, and after the lecture " the Boss and 
the boys " had a great time together, the Elephant Islanders 
reproducing one of their musical evenings, with Hussey on the 
banjo once again, as so often in the dark days, the sole instru- 
mentaUst. One day in March the Philharmonic Hall was 
filled by Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society, when Sir 
Francis Younghusband, the president, took the chair and 
assured Shackleton of the esteem in which he was held by the 

Sir Ernest Shacki.eton, aged 47. 

[FandyJi Ltd. 

Face />■ 267. 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 267 

Society. And every day questions were invited from the public, 
some of them weak and silly enough, with now and again a 
tough heckler who recalled the bygone thrust and parry of the 
Dundee election, and stung the lecturer to speak his mind. 
One of these raised a question which got an answer that deserves 
to be put on record. 

A man in the gallery called out, " What are your men doing 
now ? " 

" Different jobs." 

" And while they are working hard you are making money 
here out of what they did for you ! " 

To this Shackleton's reply was — " You have raised a delicate 
question, and one I do not usually discuss, but I will answer 
you. You may not be aware that when a ship founders all 
pay ceases automatically ; that is the law. But not only were 
my men kept on full pay for a year longer, for the sake of their 
dependants, but for three months more after their return. It is 
to pay those liabilities that I am giving these lectures, and you 
will be glad to hear that the shilling you paid for your seat (if 
you did pay it) goes to that object." 

The lectures were greatly appreciated by the pubUc, and 
curiously enough the audiences were mostly men ; but the attend- 
ances were irregular, and the takings sometimes failed to meet 
the expenses for weeks together. Shackleton was sorely in 
need of money, as in addition to the expedition debts and his 
own expenses he had heavy demands upon him on account of 
his father's long illness. When the lecturing period was nearly 
over he wrote to a friend, " It is a strain, but then all my life 
is a strain, and I would not have it otherwise," and indeed he 
enjoyed the fight of it. 

Quite early in the year, as soon as the initial difficulties at 
the Philharmonic Hall were overcome and the lectures going 
automatically, Shackleton came to the decision that he had 
strength enough left and life enough before him to carry through 
yet another expedition. Every time that he was left in the lurch 
by the clever men of business with whom he tried to compete, 
his mind went back to the one sort of enterprise in which he was 
supreme. The fact that " the boys " who had waited for him 


on Elephant Island and rallied round him from the battlefields 
and the mystery ships were ready to follow him at a word, 
seemed of itself an invitation to go out again. At the beginning 
of March he was speaking confidentially of two alternative 
schemes. One was to turn to the other pole and explore the 
unknown area of the Beaufort Sea lying to the west and north of 
Prince Patrick Island. The other was to set out on an oceano- 
graphical expedition with the object of visiting all the little- 
known islands of the South Atlantic and the South Pacific, and 
searching again for the reported islands which at one time or 
another had figured on the charts, but which no living sailor 
had ever seen. This was an old idea, for when he sent the 
Nimrod home from New Zealand under Davis in 1909, it was 
with instructions to hunt for all such doubtful islands as lay near 
her track, and the work had been done diligently though with 
negative results. 

" The boys " were eagerly hopeful, and although Wild and 
Mcllroy started to prospect in Central Africa with a view to 
ultimate settlement there, and Worsley and Stenhouse were 
away on a trading venture of their own, they were all " at call," 
ready to join in any expedition at short notice. 

The bondage at the Philharmonic Hall ceased at the end of 
May, after two hundred and fifty appearances, and the summer 
was devoted mainly to the hunt for a ship, and for a benefactor to 
provide the necessary funds. It had taken a long time before 
Shackleton was " battered by the shocks of doom " into dis- 
trusting an unsecured future. But this tune he resolved that 
he would not take an irretraceable step until he had money 
secured as an absolute gift for the purpose of an expedition. 
With revived keenness he sought for introductions to the richest 
men in the country, an easy matter now with the reputation 
he had achieved ; but the men of millions heard his glowing 
plans unmoved, they were repelled alike by the North Pole 
and the South ; to them the lonely islands of the ocean made no 
appeal, unless the prospects of new wealth lay there. Shackleton 
could not promise anything but glory as a reward ; the rich 
men knew they could get all the glory they wanted at a cheaper 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 269 

Then on an eventful day two Dulwich College old boys met 
after long separation, and Mike, still a boy at heart, woke an 
answering chord in John Q. Rowett who had prospered in 
the world, but still held his old friend in warm affection. 
Mr. Rowett agreed readily to contribute a very handsome 
sum to a new expedition, provided that others would do 
their part. 

At this stage Dr. Shackleton died, leaving a happy memory 
behind him in the hearts of a multitude of old patients and 
friends, but nothing more substantial. Sir Ernest took all the 
burdens upon himself, heedless of his own embarrassments ; 
but he did not abandon the expedition which he knew well must 
be his last, however successful it might prove. 

The Beaufort Sea plan was now the more attractive. Shackle- 
ton had met the Canadian explorer Stefansson in the spring, and 
discussed the conditions of the problem with the man whose 
courage, resourcefulness, and originality had promised to revolu- 
tionize Arctic exploration. Now he had got into touch with 
the High Commissioner of Canada, who favoured the idea of a 
northern expedition. So during the autumn, Shackleton was 
travelling all over the British Isles searching for a suitable ship 
in every port, and over a large part of Europe to track down 
potential patrons of discovery in their holiday resorts. The 
result was almost always disappointment, but disappointment 
never hardened into bitterness, it evaporated without leaving a 
stain under the warmth of a new expectation. On his flying 
visits to his home, his boyishness often made him seem no older 
than his children. One day he went with them and Lady 
Shackleton, who had thrown herself heart and soul into the Girl 
Guide movement, to a camp at Eastbourne. A large lunch 
basket accompanied the party, and when it was opened the 
piece de resistance was found to be a big toy penguin, which the 
explorer had carefully packed, with a carving-knife and fork, 
to ensure hilarity at the meal. 

At length, on a visit to Norway, he found a ship well suited 
for an Arctic expedition, a little Norwegian sealer named the 
Foca I. only iii feet long, with 24 feet beam and 12 feet depth 
of hold, schooner rigged, with auxiliary engines and a tonnage 


considerably less than 200. She was purchased before the end 
of the year, and fenamed the Qi4est. 

The year ended with one of his rare Christmases at home. 
Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Rowett and of Mr. Frederick 
Becker, who had given £5000 to the funds, the expedition was 
almost assured, though no public announcement was made. 

On 1 8th January 1 921 he wrote as follows to an old friend : 

"It was good to see your writing. I always feel that through 
the long years you have been one of my strong supporters, and 
can never forget that I made my first dip into the sea of science 
under your tuition. In those days ' the world was a steed for 
my rein,' but as we grow older we grow more humble, and 
now from the stem Antarctic and years of isolation, I am turn- 
ing to the milder North (for your ear only at present). I am 
about to launch my last polar venture, to wit, the Exploration 
of the Beaufort Sea. I am just off to Canada, but will be back 
on the 15th of February, and will then tell you everything." 

The visit to Canada resulted in promises of support which 
appeared to justify the equipment of the expedition, but nothing 
was published, and when the plans were well advanced and the 
old Endurance comrades brought together, the news from 
Canada got less satisfactory, and Shackleton had to cross the 
Atlantic again. This time it became too clear that the promised 
Canadian support was to fail, and that the summer would be 
lost for exploration. It was a terrible disappointment, but 
it showed up the imaltered character of the man. One plan 
having failed, he fell back on another without an hour spent in 
useless regrets. Nothing had been published except vague 
rumours of the Quest being fitted out for an expedition to the 
North, and Shackleton had neither confirmed nor denied the 
truth of these when newspaper men assailed him. He followed 
up the letter just quoted by another on 24th June : 

" Here follows a surprise for you. . . . 

" It became too late for me] to go North this year, and on 
Wednesday morning next you will see the announcement of 
an expedition after your own heart — an oceanographical and 
sub- Antarctic expedition, fully equipped, fully financed, seven- 
teen officers, no A.B.'s, all men keen on work. 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 271 

" Programme in a nutshell : all the oceanic and sub-Antarctic 
islands. Two thousand miles of Antarctic outline from Enderby 
Land to Coats Land. Seaplane, kinema, wireless, everything 
up to date, but still wanting your advice and expert knowledge. 

" I have worked swiftly and silently." 

Shackleton continued to work swiftly, for the time for pre- 
paration was very short ; but the silence was broken by a burst 
of publicity for the expedition and its plans which attracted 
the widest interest. Incidentally the insistence in the daily 
Press on the great results which were to be expected from 
the voyage of 30,000 miles planned out for the Quest abated 
the S5mipathy with the expedition of some critical scientific folk, 
and the whole thing was sometimes referred to contemptuously 
as " an advertising stunt." This was quite unjust. Shackleton 
certainly did not shun the public eye, and he heartily enjoyed 
the bustle and excitement of preparation ; but he was always 
determined that his work should be fully deserving of what 
praise it earned, and his plans equal to the expectations they 
aroused. It was necessary for a time also to continue the 
search for funds. Eventually Mr. Rowett added to the gener- 
osity of his early contribution by assuming responsibility for 
the whole remaining financial obligations of the enterprise. 
So the Shackleton - Rowett Expedition came into being. 
The history of recent British polar research has been rich in 
generous patrons. Lord Northcliffe, Sir George Newnes, Mr. LI. 
W. Longstaff, and Sir James Caird have all honoured themselves 
by large and unconditional gifts ; but none of them gave more 
largely or with more devoted a trust in the expedition's leader 
than Mr. J. Q. Rowett, whose generosity swelled to a splendid 
total. Shackleton was now able to complete his preparations 
with a mind relieved of long-standing financial worry. This 
set free an effervescence of boyish exuberance which delighted 
the hearts of his friends. 

Time was ever his enemy. To ensure the success of his 
fine plan of exploring the Enderby Quadrant of the Antarctic 
where no mechanically propelled vessel had ever tried to pene- 
trate the pack, it was essential that he should be on the Antarctic 
Circle, 1500 miles east of the Cape of Good Hope, by Christmas 


Day. To ensure the fullest advantage from the proposed 
island surveys and oceanographical observations it was necessary 
to collect apparatus and train observers, which would involve 
months of preparation and postpone the expedition to the 
following year. But the ship was there, the men were waiting 
impatiently, and perhaps we may infer that something within 
him warned Shackleton that he himself might find next year 
too late. In the summer of 1921 he was confident in his physical 
fitness, the occasional trouble from colds, from indigestion, from 
sciatica, from rheumatism would vanish he was sure as soon as 
he got to sea again with a ship of his own and " the boys," but 
next year perhaps . It was now four years since in his con- 
fidential letters he had confessed that he would be too old for 
another Antarctic adventure ; and it may well be that he 
recognized, though he did not acknowledge, that this was his 
last chance to do great things in the field where alone he felt sure 
of success. 

So the preparations were pushed on with fevered haste. 
Never was a little vessel crowded with such a wealth of the 
latest appHances. Wireless installations of the most ambitious 
range, gyroscopic compass, electrically heated overalls for the 
look-out man in the crow's nest, a seaplane, three large boats 
and several small ones adapted for landing on surf-beaten shores 
or conversion into a sledge on ice-fields, kites for the meteoro- 
logical exploration of the upper air, sounding machines and 
gear for collecting specimens of everything collectible in air or 
sea or land. The Challenger herself could not have carried 
all that was collected for the Quest, with room to spare for its 
efficient handling. But the plan was great and its accomplish- 
ment still practicable if circumstances should prove as favour- 
able as they might just possibly be. The chance of success was 
sufficient for Shackleton, who went about his preparations with 
the heart of a boy, though old friends saw in his face signs of the 
wear and tear of his long years of imceasing hardship and toil. 

The Quest after being refitted at Southampton came into the 
Thames on 15th August to complete her equipment. Shackle- 
ton had been elected to the Royal Yacht Squadron, and his little 
vessel flew the white ensign and the burgee of the premier yacht 




The Quest, unloaded. 

J^ace p. 272. 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 273 

club of the world. The King had received the explorer and 
presented a silk Union Jack to be carried on the expedition. 
Queen Alexandra received him and heard the new plans with all 
the friendly solicitude she had shown for every Antarctic expedi- 
tion since she saw the Discovery at Cowes in the first year of the 
century. The work on board was much hampered by visitors, 
and the stowing of the hold was a troublesome task ; but light 
hearts and willing hands got the ship ready in St; Katharine's 

On 1 8th September the little vessel left the dock, passed 
under the Tower Bridge and made her way down the Thames, 
as the Nimrod and the Endurance had done before her. There 
was much popular interest along the river-side, and the shipping 
gave a noisy send-off to the expedition. On board there was 
scarcely standing room, with a crew of equals not yet shaken 
into shape, a crowd of friends, unstowed stores and open hatches. 
In the midst of the excitement Shackleton discovered that the 
black kitten presented to the expedition for good luck was 
starving. " Bring the milk ! " he ordered; but there was no 
milk in the galley, where black coffee was being served. " Get 
up a case of milk from the hold ! " a member of the expedition 
disappeared and in time heaved up a box on to the crowded 
deck. " Break it open ! " roared Shackleton, and the box 
was smashed up. " Open a tin and feed the cat ! " Possibly 
words of emphasis have been omitted, but the whole scene 
reminds one in spirit and setting of Nanty Ewart on the 
Jumping Jenny in Redgauntlet, ordering tea for his sea-sick 
passenger. So little change do the centuries bring in the heart 
and the language of the true sons of the sea. 

The Quest took her departure from Plymouth on 24th 
September, all on board in the highest spirits. Shackleton felt 
in the sea-air the breath of freedom after his years ashore and in 
the unnatural luxury of passenger vessels, and he shook off the 
hateful ways of business, which had always placed him at a dis- 
advantage, for the delights of command, where he was supreme 
aUke in his power and in the unquestioning devotion of his crew. 
It was as remarkable a crew as ever the white ensign waved over. 
It represented almost every portion of the Empire, eighteen 


British subjects all told, but only one in the narrow geographical 
sense an Englishman, the rest were Scots, Irish, Canadian, 
Australian, New Zealanders. Five of them had been with 
Shackleton on the Endurance : these were Frank Wild, as before, 
second in command ; Frank Worsley, once more sailing master ; 
A. H. Macklin and J. A. Mcllroy, the surgeons; L. D. A. 
Hussey, meteorologist ; and C. J. Green, the cook. Two were boy 
scouts chosen by the leader out of ten selected by Sir Robert 
Baden-Powell as the best of a thousand applicants. One, 
G. Wilkins, naturaUst, had previous experience in the Arctic 
regions on Canadian expeditions. Almost all had naval or 
military rank as officers during the war ; now they were on the 
same level doing all the work of the ship, each man putting his 
hand to any job irrespective of his title or designation. As a 
temporary member of the party, Mr. G. S. Lysaght, Shackleton's 
old friend, a hardened yachtsman, came as far as St. Vincent. 

Only the best of good fortune could possibly make the 
expedition a full success; every day was required to reach 
Cape Town in time for the attack on the Enderby Quadrant. 
Only the best weather could enable so small a vessel, so hastily 
equipped, to cross the great stretches of the ocean without loss 
or damage to the complicated gear crowded on board her. 
Shackleton had never left home with more odds against success 
in his adventure ; he knew the risk, but he saw the one chance 
and ventured it 

For two days the Quest had fine weather, but showed herself 
a Uvely ship. She was very low in the water, and had a great 
double bridge and deckhouse, tall masts, and long yards on the 
foremast, so that once set rolling she kept it up, and when the 
wind freshened and the sea rose she took the water over her 
bows in fine style, and kept it washing about the deck. Still 
she was a good sea-boat and, handled skilfully as she was, she 
was safe though terribly uncomfortable. For a week she met 
strong head winds, her engine developed defects, and the rigging 
was strained, while only Shackleton, Lysaght, and two others 
escaped sea-sickness. All the rest were ill, two so seriously 
that they had to return from Madeira. The exceptional severity 
of the weather and the unexpected defects in the ship taxed 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 275 

Shackleton's strength severely, as for five days he never left 
the bridge except to go below to cheer up the invalids. The 
necessary repairs were carried out in a week at Lisbon, the 
Quest having struggled into the Tagus on 4th October. The 
voyage to Madeira was carried out in stiU worse weather, 
perpetual head winds, but there was a pleasant run through 
the Trades to St. Vincent, which was reached on 26th October. 
Here Mr. Lysaght left with great reluctance, after a farewell 
feast the menu card of which contained verses by Shackleton 
as a tribute to his friend, including these lines : 

" You have watched our reeUng spars sweep past the steady stars 
In the storm- wracked night. 
You saw great liners turn ; high bows that seemed to churn 

The swell we wallowed in. 
They veered from their ordered ways, from the need of their 
time-kept days 
To speed us on." 

During the two days at St. Vincent, Shackleton was struck 
down with what he called suppressed influenza ; but he picked 
up on the voyage westward to the lonely islet of St. Paul's 
Rocks, which he had sighted from the Hoghton Tower thu'ty- 
one years before, and where he now began to carry out the 
programme of his last expedition by sending the naturalists 
ashore to make collections. He had been obliged by the bad 
weather to change his plans, and to omit the call at Cape 
Town (though his seaplane and the polar equipment had been 
sent on there from Madeira to await the Quest). Rio de 
Janeiro was to be the last port in touch with regular mail-boats. 

He reached Rio on 22nd November and was most courteously 
treated by the BraziUan Government, which gave him the free use 
of the naval dockyard, and allowed a spar to be taken from one 
of their men-of-war to replace the strained foretopmast of the 
Quest. The faulty engines were got into good running order, and 
the anxiety as to the fitness of the ship for her task was reheved. 
But the heat was extreme, and Shackleton suffered from it. 
It was observed that his spirits flagged, and that he sat almost 
silent through some of the banquets given in his honoiu. But 
on St. Andrew's night he gave a speech in his own inimitable 


style at the Scottish gathering, and on 5th December he roused 
himself to deliver one of those wonderful lectures which had given 
such pleasure to audiences in all parts of the world, and cast so 
warm a glow of romance on the bare facts of exploration. The 
Municipal Theatre was filled to hear him, and the whole diplo- 
matic corps, even the representatives of the ex-enemy States, 
supported the high dignitaries of Brazil in the audience, and, 
as of old, he charmed them ; but the effort shook him. 

To Dame Janet Stancomb- Wills, who had never ceased to 
sympathize with his aspirations and to promote his plans since 
the old days of the Endurance, he wrote : 

" We are tucked away about nine miles from Rio on an 
island, baking hot, with mosquitoes and clanging hammers all 
day ; then at night I have to dress and attend some long- 
drawn-out function, and all the time I am mad to get away. . . . 
From South Georgia we go into the ice, into the life that is 
mine, and I do pray that we will make good. It will be my 
last time. I want to write your good name high on the map, and 
however erratic I may seem, always remember this, that I 
go to work secure in the trust of a few who know me." 

Sighing for the health and happiness which he believed 
awaited him in the far South, he sailed from Rio on 19th 
December, the forts saluting his departure. Just before leaving 
he wrote to Mr. Rowett : 

"no*' in the shade ! All the work is done, and we are 
going. The next you will hear will be, please God, success. 
Should anything happen in the ice it will have nothing to do 
with anything wrong with the ship. The ship is all right. 

" Never for me the lowered banner. 
Never the lost endeavour ! 

" Your friend, Ernest." 

Outside there was no rest nor peace. A great albatross 
met the Quest as a convoy a few degrees south of the tropic, 
farther from the South than any of its kind had been 
known to stray before. The voyage southward was hampered 
by contrary winds, rising on Christmas Eve to the most 

THE LAST QUEST, 1920-1922 277 

frightful storm in all Shackleton's experience, in which 
the Quest had to lie hove-to for a whole day, using oil to 
check the breaking of the sea, and rolling 50° to each side 
as she rose and sank 40 feet on the crest and into the trough 
of the tremendous waves. No cooking was possible and no 
rest. But the stout little craft weathered the storm, and the 
wearied leader, casting his mind back over all his past experience, 
acknowledged that never before at sea had he so longed to reach 

Calm came with the New Yeiar, and on 2nd January the 
first iceberg swam into their ken, glorious with submerged 
spurs of glittering green, and caverns of deep azure. It brought 
a message of welcome and of hope ; yet he wrote of it : 

*' The old familiar sight aroused in me memories that the 
strenuous years had deadened, Ah me ! the years that have 
gone since, in the pride of young manhood, I first went forth 
to the fight. I grow old and tired, but must always lead on." 

On 4th January 1922 the Quest reached South Georgia and 
cast anchor off the Grytviken whaling station. Shackleton 
went on shore at once to see old friends and make preparations 
for getting the ship ready with the least delay to proceed on the 
much-reduced Antarctic cruise that the late date permitted. 
In the evening he returned on board apparently quite well. 
He told his comrades that he was now happy and contented, 
feeling that the voyage had really begun. He sat down cheer- 
fully to write his diary, and the last words were : "In the 
darkening twilight I saw a lone star hover gem-like above the 

And with his last thoughts of " sunset and evening star " 
the Leader went to rest ; but he could not sleep, and in a few 
hours came the " clear call " which made the crossing of the 
Bar a matter of moments. He died in an attack of angina — X 
pectoris at 3.30 a.m. on 5th January. 

A fine, a characteristic end, without warning, without regret. 
Life stopped in the course of a new onward movement. All 
his life had been a rattling rush of swift succeeding action, like 
a chain cable racing through the hawse-pipe into an unfathomed 

1 • . - . ^ 
. , .i/^^ hj^ hXMi J j\^ dUvi- 


sea, causing the world to vibrate as it ran out its full length of 
forty-seven shackles when the last link slipped over, and there 
was silence. 

Only Dr. Macklin, who happened to be on watch, was present 
at the closing scene, which passed so quickly that death came 
before medical help could be given. Wild, Mcllroy, and Hussey 
were called, but all the rest of the ship's company slept until 
daylight, when the heavy news was told. There was a day of 
gloom and consternation unknown before in any ship or camp 
of his. 

Wild succeeded to the command, and decided that the 
expedition should go forward, knowing that this would have been 
the wish of the leader. The wireless installation had broken 
down, and no message could be sent out till the next ship sailed. 
The body was embalmed and removed to the Httle Lutheran 
church, as it was decided to send it home for burial unless 
other instructions were received at the first port. His old 
comrades thought that burial in South Georgia would have 
met Shackleton's own wishes best ; but they wisely felt 
that Lady Shackleton should be consulted before the step was 
taken. It was decided that one trusted friend should accom- 
pany the body and see the desired arrangements carried out ; 
the choice fell on Hussey. 

On 19th January the body was placed on the Norwegian 
steamer Professor Gruvel and the long fimeral procession 
began. The albatrosses followed in the wake of the ship to the 
limit of their range, watchful and inscrutable as ever, bringing 
the memories and the mysticism of centuries with them. In 
ten daj^ the ship reached Montevideo, and next day the death 
of Shackleton passed like a shadow over the world. The sorrow 
of nearest friends could not but be softened by the altar smoke 
of sympathetic appreciation of the bright and vivid life, which 
rolled in from the highest and the humblest in every land 
through which he had flashed ; and where had he not been ? 

At Montevideo the Uruguayan Government made the 
occasion one of national mourning, and accorded to Shackleton 
the full honours due to a Minister of State. A hundred marines 
were marched down to the ship's side to bear the coffin, covered 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 279 

by the British flag, to the military hospital, where it lay in state 
under guard. By one of the happy coincidences that we have 
had to notice so often in these pages, the commander of the 
guard of honour was the captain of the Instituto de Pesca, in 
which the second attempt for the relief of the Elephant Island 
party had been made. 

With unerring instinct Lady Shackleton decided that the 
burial should take place in South Georgia, under the shadow 
of the mountains he had been the first to cross. On 15th 
February, after a ceremony in the English Church attended 
by the President and members of the Government, the diplo- 
matic body and deputations from the British communities 
of Uruguay and the Argentine, Shackleton's remains were 
carried with all the pomp that Latin America could muster 
through streets lined with national troops to the British ship 
Woodville, bound for South Georgia. The Government had 
offered to send the remains south on one of their warships, but 
this offer was declined on account of the risk of such a vessel 
being unable to penetrate the ice which was apt to be encoim- 
tered round the sub-Antarctic island ; but the cruiser Uruguay 
accompanied the Woodville to the limit of territorial waters, 
and fired a salute of nineteen guns in honour of the dead. 

So Hussey brought back his leader to the region he loved 
so well, and with the escort of the ever-watchful albatrosses, 
like a cloud of witnesses of the great sea-leaders of the past, 
the funeral procession of more than 3000 miles terminated 
at Grytviken. The community who lived at the whaling 
stations along the coast was small, and not of our race, but the 
Norwegians had taken Shackleton to their hearts long before, 
and treated him as a true descendant of the Sea Kings. When 
the last service was held on 5th March, half in Norwegian, half 
in English, in the little Lutheran church at Grytviken, the 
managers even from the most distant stations came to attend 
it, and one of them, with a fine and understanding sjmipathy, 
brought with him from a great distance seven ex-service men 
from a British ship, Shetlanders all, to act as bearers on the 
last stage. Though Hussey was the only one of his own 
'* boys " there, he felt that the little crowd of rough sailors, 


and the one lady who lived on the island and laid flowers on the 
grave, were all true mourners. 

On 2nd March the greatest of the many memorial services 
held at home took place in St. Paul's Cathedral, where a vast 
congregation assembled, including the family, representatives 
of the King and Queen, of Queen Alexandra and the Prince 
of Wales, of the Admiralty, the Royal Geographical Society 
and other pubUc bodies, old comrades who had sailed with 
Shackleton on the Discovery, the Nimrod, the Endurance, and 
the Quest, business friends, social friends, and the great general 
public. The service, faultless in its beauty and magnificent in its 
setting, concluded with the sounding of the Last Post by cadets 
from the Thames Nautical. College ; but the minds of many 
present were away in the grander scene at South Georgia under 
the dome of heaven, with the wash of the waves and the wailing 
of the sea-birds as the most plaintive of all funeral music. 

Seldom indeed can all that is most moving in pathos and 
pageantry have been gathered into a funeral so prolonged, and the 
man who was buried at Grytviken was the boy who at Kilkea, 
in Dublin, and in Sydenham, never tired of following funerals, 
as if that were the chief end of life. 

How the character of the man impressed his followers, " the 
boys," who held him as their hero, has been partly shown in 
the several chapters, but appears even more clearly in the 
personal experience of one who sailed in the Endurance and 
the Quest, Mr. L. D. A. Hussey : 

" What appealed to me more than anything was the fact 
that he was so human. He had his faults, and knew it too, 
and he expected perfection in no man ; but he was quite willing 
to overlook what was bad, and just remember the good in 
every one. He had a way of compelling loyalty. We would 
have gone anywhere without question just on his order. And 
his personality left its mark on all our Uves. Sometimes we 
would be inclined to do a thing which we knew he would not 
approve of, and, though there was no possibihty of its ever 
being found out, the mere fact that we knew that he would 
not have liked it, proved a very efficient check. Even now 
our thoughts and ideas are all coloured by what we knew of his. 
We are constantly, and almost imconsciously, sa3dng to one 

THE LAST QUEST. 1920-1922 281 

another, " The Boss would never have done that," or " That 
is just what the Boss would do." In this way our lives still 
seem to have some reference to him, and his ideas and aims 
are set up as our ideals. Now that he has gone there is a gap 
in our lives that can never be filled. He was the best friend 
that we have ever had, and in attempting to approach his 
ideals, and in always associating him with those ideals, we 
believe that he is attaining the immortality that he desired." 

Another comrade of the Endurance, Mr. J. M. Wordie, 
contributed a feeling obituary notice to the Geographical 
Journal, and we quote a portion of it, revised and amplified 
by him: 

" Shackleton possessed in unusual measure the highly poetic 
imagination which is traditionally associated with a love of 
exploration. It is well expressed in his writings and in the 
naming of his ships ; still more in his love of poetry. His 
wonderful memory made it easy for him to have ready a line 
of verse suitable to almost every occasion. It would generally 
be from Browning, his favourite poet. When combined with 
great physical strength and with powers of leadership, a poetic 
nature such as Shackleton's is the very stuff from which the 
greatest explorers are made. 

" Shackleton, indeed, possessed the faculty of leadership to 
a pre-6minent degree. That, together with his generosity, made 
all the best men who had served with him his staunch ad- 
herents. They had implicit faith in his judgment. Shackle- 
ton's was the rarer type of courage which is controlled rather 
than rash. Two of his greatest decisions — to turn back on 
the southern journey in 1909, and to remain on the ice after 
the Endurance was crushed in 1915 — are examples of this. 
Caution and shrewdness were combined, however, with in- 
vincible optimism ; this made him a trying partner at card 
games, and was also responsible for a continual hankering after 
and belief in hidden treasure. The latter feature was but an- 
other instance of his romantic nature. It was perhaps this 
which first suggested to his intimates a likeness to Raleigh. 
Then his friends found that he was a Raleigh in many ways — 
courtier, poet, explorer, and lover of his country. I always 
pictured Shackleton as very much the Elizabethan. We once 
had an amusing time together discussing the voyagers of that 
period, and trying to reconstruct the life and behaviour on board 
the ships, the aims, ambitions and characters, even the garb 


of the officers and crews. In an age which is producing modem 
Elizabethans, Shackleton will surely be reckoned as most true 
to type." 

When the Quest came back to Gr3rtviken after her cruise 
in the Antarctic, Wild and his comrades heaped together a 
great cairn, surmounted by a cross and cemented into solid 
rock, as a memorial of their leader. Since the road of loving 
hearts was hewed by Stevenson's native friends to his moun- 
tain grave in Samoa, no memorial has been put together more 
notable in its tribute of devotion than this rough pile untouched 
by a hireling hand. 


^.^yi^ii^'-*''^'' ^■"*^-r^ 

^*'p.. ■'^^;■ 

Memorial Cairn at Grytviken. 

Face p. 282. 


Thronging through the cloud-rift whose are they, the faces 
Faint revealed but sure divined, the famous ones of old ? 
' What ' — ^they smile — ' our names, our deeds so soon erases 
Time upon his tablet where Life's glory lies enrolled ? 

' Was it for mere fool's play, make-believe and mumming, 
So we battled it like men, not boy-like sulked or whined? 
Each of us heard clang God's " Come ! " and each was coming 
Soldiers all to forward face, not sneaks to lag behind 1 ' " 

Robert Browning. 



WE believe that the foregoing chapters show that 
Shackleton possessed many of those qualities which 
detach a man from the backgromid of his con- 
temporaries to be silhouetted for ever against the sunset sky 
of time. And by the foreshortening power of history he will 
appear there side by side with the great adventurers of all 
the centuries. He drew his inspiration mainly from the Vic- 
torian poets, but in his maturity he would have felt himself an 
alien in the conventionally ordered life of the nineteenth century. 
In the twentieth century he was more fitly placed for winning 
appreciation, but to set him amongst his peers in his true 
environment we must spin the globe backwards through at 
least three hundred years. 

It is easy to picture Shackleton strutting in all the bravery 
of Elizabethan finery along the miry quaysides of Wapping, 
and outdoing Raleigh in the graceful casting of his costly mantle 
before the feet of his queen. No effort is required to see him 
" beating about the streights " in a consort of the Golden Hind, 
or matching Drake at bowls on Plymouth Hoe, though we think 
we see him rushing from the Hoe to the harbour at the alarm 
of the Armada — his ship would have been the first to be ready 
for the fight. How his spirit would have leaped with Frobisher's 
at the lure of unmined treasure in the farthest north! We 
can see him risking everything to load his ship yet deeper 
with the glittering treasure that promised wealth but proved 
so worthless, and we can see him emerging from his bitter dis- 
appointment to seek still more perilous adventures. The 
possibiUty of an ancestor in common between Frobisher and 
Shackleton aUows us to linger in the pleasant dream that both 

polar explorers drew their lust for adventure from the same 



origin. Whether the insubstantial fabric can sustain the bond 
of blood or not, the spiritual affinity stands. 

And how the heart would leap within him during his evenings 
at the Mermaid ! 

If Shackleton had lived in the sixteenth century he might 
well have been knighted on the quarter-deck of his ship, and 
in the greater swing of chances in those spacious days he might 
equally well have been beheaded in the Tower. He would 
certainly have cut a dashing figure and made devoted friends 
and bitter enemies amongst the great men of that day. 

In modem England, Shackleton had less chance of being 
understood, for he did not fit into any of the ready-made 
clothes by which we are in the habit of classifying people, and 
we could search in vain amongst the printed labels for one 
to describe him. His life was like a mighty rushing wind, 
and the very strength of his nature made him enemies as well 
as friends. In many ways he was always a boy, and that boy 
was often possessed by a spirit of pure mischief. When he 
found any one shocked at his disregard of conventional decorum, 
he was sometimes drawn on to see how much his victim could 
stand, and this led to unfortunate misunderstandings, though 
no harm was meant, and no one with a sense of humour was 
ever hurt. After such a piece of fun Shackleton was usually 

He sometimes evoked disUke without making an enemy. 
For example, one of those who did not like him complained 
that Shackleton always seemed to be on the defensive in his 
company. As the foregoing chapters show again and again, 
Shackleton, with all his strength, was extremely sensitive, 
and he adjusted himself instinctively to his environment : 
feeling an atmosphere of challenge, he would assume the 
defensive, not because it was his natural attitude, but as the 
inevitable response to suspicion. And men of science have 
misinterpreted such instincts, even in the lower creatures, Uke 
the French naturaUst who wrote " cet animal est bien mechant, 
quand on I'attaque il se defend." 

To sympathy Shackleton responded like a flower to the 
sun, and all through his life his deepest self was revealed in the 


company of warm-hearted and congenial friends. In South 
America, when smiles were the only common language, his 
hostesses would find a method of telling him in Spanish that 
he was simpatico. 

His character was compounded of such contrary elements 
that he had points of contact, and even of sympathy, with 
people of every kind. With one he would have a boxing bout, 
caring only that his fellow was a good boxer, no matter how 
big a scoimdrel ; with another, a discussion of the beauties of 
the book of Job, caring only for his poetical perceptions, even 
though he were an archbishop. He could carouse with sailors, 
drinking out of tin mugs at a dirty table and find nothing 
wanting ; while at a fine dinner, amongst the perfection of 
silver, glass, and china, a chance stain on a knife-blade might 
rouse him to disgust. He held a horse for a quarter of an hour 
at the call of a farmer in a little town in Canada, because the 
man was transparently honest and unconscious of asking any- 
thing out of the way. And, when in one of the most exclu- 
sive hotels of one of the greatest capitals of Europe the hall 
porter failed in civility, Shackleton seized him by his gold-laced 
coUar and ran him across a crowded hall to the ofiice of the 
manager, and extorted apologies from both because he would not 
stand calculated insolence. Every one who knew Shackleton 
can cite many cases of such apparently contrary impulses and 
actions, and it is no wonder that people who cannot admit the 
appearance of inconsistency in their friends should dislike him. 

The way to understand his character as we conceive it is to 
take account of the scale on which it was fashioned. The man 
was great and had to be taken as a whole. Most people from 
ignorance of his size and diversity, and from want of experi- 
ence of men of his magnitude, only saw a small part of him, 
liked it, and hailed him as friend ; disliked it, and perhaps held 
their peace. Viewed in its full size, the strength of the whole 
fabric made criticism of the finish and poHsh of its parts super- 
fluous and impertinent. As a great steel girder may shine in 
the sunlight and yet be flecked with shadows which may 
hide defects that would ruin a slender tube, so Shackleton's 
character had its shades which in a small man might be 


serious, but in him could be viewed as mere accidents of his 

Shackleton was human before everything ; he had virtues 
and faults which we have tried neither to exaggerate nor to 
conceal. He was often pleased with himself and often dis- 
appointed. He was essentially a fighter, afraid of nothing 
and of nobody, and every one with whom he crossed swords 
did not like him the better for it. People have said that he 
was vain and very open to flattery, but much as he liked to feel 
himself appreciated, he had a keen scent for insincerity, and 
of all his hatreds that of a h5rpocrite was the greatest. He was 
intolerant of restrictions, and officialism of every kind was 
repugnant to him. In a sense he was a law unto himself, and 
made no concealment of the fact that he was never really 
happy unless he was absolutely free. 

He overflowed with kindness, and could never bear to see 
any one unhappy or in want without offering help. So deeply 
did the pangs of hunger bum themselves into his memory on 
the Discovery expedition, that he made a habit of feeding every 
hungry person he met, especially children. It was no unusual 
thing to see a group of hungry street waifs at the door of a 
tea-shop near his office in Regent Street waiting for him to 
pass by, and he never failed to take them in and feed them. 
A coffee-stall near Hyde Park Comer which he often passed 
in the dark evenings when going home from work, was another 
scene where many a hungry wanderer was warmed and fed 
by him. He had a cheery word for all he met. If he had to 
wait in an office for the principal to be free, he went round 
and chatted to the clerks and porters, whose good will could 
never be of any use to him. It was his instinct to spread kindli- 
ness. His disposition was trustful and affectionate to aU his 
friends. As a son, as a brother, as a husband and a father he 
showed a wealth of love and tendemess that could not be 

At the commencement of every voyage all through his career 
he suffered acutely from home-sickness, yet the wander-fever 
was not checked and the master-passion of his life was probably 
the outward urge into the unknown. It was a primal impulse. 


He often tried to explain, but with little success, the induce- 
ments that drew him away from the comforts of home and 
society. It was his nature to push into the unknown, to take 
great risks, to make quick decisions and sudden changes of 
plan. His nature impelled him always to be doing things, 
especially difficult things, preferably dangerous things, above 
all big things, and to be doing them with all his might ; the 
greater the obstacles the happier the endeavour. No one ever 
exemplified better the pure romance of exploration. The ques- 
tion he should have been asked was. Can you ever rest ? for 
rest was to him the abnormal state which, when it supervened, 
had to be accounted for. The constant activity wore him out. 
In his ail-but forty-eight years he had done the deeds and 
experienced the emotions of a long life. All his rest was left 
to a possible future when, we may perhaps deduce from the 
lives of his ancestors, a dormant homing instinct might emerge 
to draw him back to the land with the placid interests of field 
and garden. 

Shackleton sometimes did things which were wrong when 
tested by the standards of ordinary people; he made rash 
promises which he ought not to have made, which circum- 
stances sometimes compelled him to break. His generosity 
often outran his means, and there was nothing he possessed 
that he would not give away. He did not verify quotations, 
was careless as to dates, and Uked to tell stories that were true 
in a large poetic sense. But he knew his failings, and his 
fights within himself were perhaps as hard as those with 
external difficulties. Viewed in the proper perspective, he 
was successful ; that is to say, in the struggles of his constant 
striving he made more successes than failures. 

The nearest we can come to an understanding of Shackleton's 
aim in life is that he was determined to deserve success and 
to. attain it. He enjoyed honours, but only because he felt 
they were deserved. He strove to do great things, not be- 
cause he had an overpowering passion for the apparent goal, 
but because he burned to do his best — the prize was in the 
process. His great ambition was to follow his ideals worthily. 
He was not the champion of causes so much as of methods. 


Like an abstract mathematician — a creature, his very anti- 
podes in nature — his interest lay in working out a problem 
in the best possible way, though what x, y, z meant was nothing 
to him, unless possibly he permitted a glimmering hope that 
they might one day resolve themselves into £ s. d. 

Of course Shackleton made leeway while beating to wind- 
ward across the ocean of life ; but he kept his eye on the com- 
pass, and he never let go the helm. He looked on courage 
as one of the minor virtues, for he took it as a matter of course 
that every true man is courageous. Endurance and persever- 
ance he ranked higher, and practised almost to the attainment 
of perfection. To others the strength and sweetness of his 
personality appeared to be his dominant quality. His quick, 
Irish wit played over the surface of his Yorkshire caution, 
and together they went far to explain the magnetic charm of 
manner which he never lost. Optimism was perhaps the 
quality he set most store by, but it was not the slipshod 
optimism of Mr. Micawber passively waiting for something 
to turn up, not the cynical optimism of Candide, with no 
higher teaching than the blessedness of cultivating a garden. 
His optimism was that preached by Robert Browning, and the 
event almost suggests that he set himself to live the life of 
faith in the essential goodness of things, as Browning taught 
it. To strive and thrive, to fight on and hope ever, to play 
a great part in a world with a happy ending, were living motives 
for him. 

Quite characteristically this whole-hearted absorption of 
Browning's philosophy, and his immense knowledge of Brown- 
ing's works, did not lead Shackleton to neglect or despise other 
poetry. His taste was singularly wide. He revelled in the 
voluptuous alliterations of Swinburne in his earlier days. 
He liked the rough reaHsm of Masefield's sea poems and the 
clang of Kipling's ballads; most of all, he loved the call of 
the wild, as given out by Robert Service ; but he kept his 
early liking for Tennyson, and gloried in Milton and Shake- 
speare. But Shackleton was human above all things, and 
could enjoy a music-hall ditty, or a deep-sea chanty among " the 
boys" with unaffected pleasure, and without the least feeling 


of incompatibility, he would end an evening of the wildest 
jollity with " Lead Kindly Light," or " Fight the Good Fight." 
The depth of his consistency could never be plumbed by the 
world's coarse thumb and finger. 

In Shackleton the religious sense was strong, though he 
could hardly be said to conform to any of the recognized modes 
of expression. He believed the soul to be immortal, and was 
very sure of providential guidance. His God was the God 
of Nature, of the stars, the seas, and the open spaces, of the 
great movements of history and the abysmal depths of person- 
ality. But no creed going beyond the bottomless words, " I 
believe," could contain a definition of his faith. There was 
goodness permeating Nature, and the world was progressing 
towards good. So he believed, and hence it is difficult for 
those who hold by forms and articles to realize that he had the 
vision of Truth ; and impossible for the school of thought, 
which sees only disgrace in the past and gloom in the future 
of human endeavour, to understand the ground that Shackleton 
stood on. 

For many years the poem " Prospice " had a special meaning 
for Shackleton and his wife. They used the word in telegrams 
as a code symbolical of hope ; and no fitter close for this little 
book on a great life can be found than the lines : 

" I was ever a fighter, so one fight more. 
The best and the last ! 
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forebore. 
And bade me creep past. 

No ! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers 

The heroes of old. 
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad Ufe's arrears 

Of pain, darkness, and cold ; 

For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave." 


Compiled by Lady Shackleton 




Member of the Royal Victorian Order, 1907. 

Honour of Knighthood, 1909. 

Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, 1909. 

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Military), 1919. 

British War Medal for the Great War, 19 19. 

Victory Medal with emblem for Mentions in Dispatches, 1919. 

Arctic Medal with three clasps, 1904, 1909, 19 17. 


Polar Star of Sweden, 1909. 
Dannebrog of Denmark, 1009. 
St. Olaf of Norway, 1909. 
Legion of Honour (France), 1909. 
St. Anne of Russia, 19 10. 
Crown of Italy, 19 10. 
Royal Crown of Prussia, 191 1. 
Order of Merit (Chile), 191 6. 



Trinity House, Election as Younger Brother of, 1909. 

Royal Geographical Society : Silver Medal, 1904. 

Royal Geographical Society : Special Gold Medal, 1909. 

Royal Scottish Geographical Society : Silver Medal, 1906. 

Royal Scottish Geographical Society : Livingstone Gold Medal, 

Tyneside Geographical Society : Gold Medal, 1909. 
University of Glasgow : Honorary Degree of LL.D., 19 14. 




Austria . . Geographical Society of Vienna : Honorary 

Membership, 1910. 
Belgium . . Royal Belgian Geographical Society, Brussels : 
Gold Medal and Honorary Membership, 1909. 
Royal Geographical Society of Antwerp : Gold 

Medal, 1909. 
Royal Yacht Club; Gold Medal, 1909. 
Brazil . . . Aero Club ; Honorary Membership, 192 1. 
Chile . . . Life-saving Society of Valparaiso : Gold Medal, 
Patriotic Military League, Santiago : Special Gold 

Medal for Discipline and Valour, 1916. 
Scientific Society of Chile, Santiago : Honorary 

Membership, 19 16. 
Municipality of Punta Arenas : Gold Medal, 1916. 
Denmark . . Royal Danish Geographical Society, Copenhagen : 

Gold Medal, 1909. 
France. . . Society of Geography, Paris : Gold Medal, 1909. 
City of Paris : Gold Medal, 1909. 
Academy of Sciences, Paris : Prix Delalande- 
Gu6rineau for Geography, 1916. 
Germany . . Geographical Society of Berlin : Gold Medal, 1910, 
Geographical Society of Frankfurt : Ruppell Gold 
Medal and Honorary Membership, 19 10. 
Italy . . . Royal Italian Geographical Society, Rome : Gold 

Medal, 1909. 
Norway . . Geographical Society, Chris tiania : Honorary 

Membership, 1909. 
Russia . . Imperial Geographical Society, St. Petersburg : 
Gold Medal, 19 10. 
Geographical Society of North Russia, Archangel : 
Honorary Membership, 19 19. 
Sweden . . Geographical Society, Stockholm : Gold Medal and 
Honorary Membership, 1909. 
Royal Science and Literary Guild, Gothenburg : 
Honorary Membership, 1909. 
Switzerland . Society of Geography, Neuch^tel : Honorary 

Membership, 19 10. 
United State:; . American Geographical Society of New York : 
Cullum Gold Medal, 1909. 
American Museum of Natural History, New York : 

Honorary Fellowship, 191 7. 
National Geographic Society, Washington : Hub- 
bard Gold Medal, 1910. 
Geographical Society of Philadelphia : Elisha K. 
Kane Gold Medal and Hon. Membership, 1910. 
Art Club of Philadelphia : Hon. Membership, 191 2. 
Geographical Society of Chicago : Helen Culver 
Gold Medal, 1910. 


Aberdeen : lectures in, 85, 172, 
266 ; sails from, 256; House, 
Sydenham, 22, 49. 

Abraham, John (ancestor), 7. 

Actor, powers as, 178-179. 

Adams, Lieut. Jameson Boyd, 
R.N.R., 97; as meteorologist, 

108, 125 ; climbs Mount 
Erebus, 129 ; on Southern 
journey, 134, 135, 149, 151- 
153 ; gets medal, 162. 

Adare, Cape, discovery of, 15 ; 

first landing, 48, 52 ; land- 
ing, 63; 152. 
Address to electors at Dundee, 94 ; 

recruiting, in Sydney, 248. 
Adelaide, lecture at, 158. 
Adelie Land, 14, 190. 
Admiralty : decisions of, 82, 202, 

230 ; distrust of, 250 ; help 

from, no, 234. 
Adventure : love of, 27, 99, 199, 

260, 285-9 ; at Tocapilla, 41. 
Advertising himself , charges of, 187, 

Afifection, 21, 288. 
Agent : experience as, 91 ; use of, 

109, 122, 167, 175. 
Albatross chickens, 226. 

— mystic associations of, 36, 42, 
152, 205, 225, 276, 278, 279. 

Albemarle, H.M.S., 107. 

Albert Hall, lectures at, 161, 265. 

Aldrich, Admiral Pelham, 83. 

Alexander i.. Tsar, 12. 

Alexandra, Queen, on Discovery, 
60 ; on Nimrod, no ; on 
Endurance, 201 ; received 
by, 162, 166, 251, 273. 

AUardyce Range, crossing of, 227. 

Alligators as pets, 47. 

Altitude, effect of great, 143. 

Ambition, personal, 50, 51, 52, 212 

America, visits to, 47, 48, 49, 80 
172, 189, 190, 249. 

American : business projects, 177; 

Geographical Society, 173 ; 

humour, 176 ; Museum of 

Natural History, 249. 
Amundsen, Capt. Roald, 108, 153, 

166, 184, 186, 188. 
Ancestors, 3-10 ; spirits of, 225. 
" Ancient Mariner " 98, 225, 226. 
Andorra, sailor from, 233. 
Ann Arbor, lecture at, 175. 
Ann, Cape, 13. 
A ntarctic : in Ross Sea, 46 ; in 

Weddell Sea, 60 ; loss of, 

83, 211. 
Antarctic Circle, 3, 7, 12, 13, 15, 

39, 42, 49, 115, 206, 215. 
Antarctic Continent : search for, 

7, 16 ; first on, 46 ; first 

wintering on, 52. 
Antarctic Days, Preface to, 191. 
Antarctic exhibition, 165. 
Antarctic expedition : early, 11-16, 

39, 42 ; Belgian, 49, 52 ; 

National, 54, 56-80 ; schemes 

for, 98 ; British (1907}, 

103-155; proposed Austrian, 

194 ; Imperial trans-, 194 ; 

Shackleton-Rowett, 271. 

— Regions, maps of, 11, 196. 

— stamps, 116, 144. 
Antarctique, M^re, 167. 
Appreciations by friends, ix, 51, 

56, 84, 98, 130, 180, 217, 
247, 261, 278, 280, 281. 

Apprenticeship : sea, 34 ; polar, 74. 

Archangel, visit to, 257, 263. 

Archbishop, value of, 255, 287. 

Arctic Circle crossed, 256. 

— ■ Exploration, 21, 46, 177, 268,269. 

Arctowski, Dr. H., 105. 

Argentine, visits to, 204, 240, 254. 

Armadale Castle, 163. 

Armitage, Cape, 68, 127, 149. 

— Capt. Albert B., R.N.R., 58, 64, 

71. 158- 
Arms of Shackelton, 8. 



Army Balloon Department, 60. 
Armytage, Bertram, 126, 132, 162. 
Arnold, Matthew, quoted, i, 193. 
Asquith, Right Hon. H. H., 164. 
Athlone, Earl of, 265. 
Aurora, polar ship, 190, 195, 205, 

229, 230, 238, 242, 244. 
Aurora Australis, polar book, 129. 
Australia, visits to, 39, 112, 158, 

245. 248. 
Australian : Antarctic Expedition, 

185 ; Government, 112, 238, 

248 ; Relief Committee, 238, 

Austria, visits to, 170, 179, 

Baden-Powell, Sir Robert, 274. 

Bahia, visit to, 253. 

Bailey, P. J., quoted, 114. 

Bile, lecture at, 179. 

Balleny Islands, 13, 230. 

Balleny, John, 13. 

Ballitore, Co. Kildare, 5, 6, 17, 3^). 

Ballitore Papers, 6. 

Balloon on Discovery, 60, 66, 105. 

— Bight or Inlet, 66, 117. 
Balmoral, lecture at, 165. 
Baltimore, lecture at, 249. 
Banjo, 237, 266. 

Banshee, Irish packet, 22, 37. 

Barbados, visit to, 253. 

Bame, Lieut. Michael, R.N., 58, 
72, 105, 107, 133. 

Barrier, Ross or Great Ice : dis- 
covery of, 15 ; Borchgrevink 
on, 54 ; sea-face of, 64, 65, 
1 1 6-1 20 ; traveUing on, 76, 
128, 133-138, 146-149- 

Bartholomew, Dr. John George, 86. 

Bartlett, H. H., 105. 

Bass Strait, 39. 

Beagle, H.M.S., 238. 

Beardmore, William (Lord Inver- 
naim), 88, 92, 97, 103. 

— Glacier, 139-142, 145, 146, 151, 

189, 230, 243. 
Bears in Antarctic, Kaiser on, 171. 
Beaufort Sea exploration, 268, 269, 

Beaufoy, cutter, 12. 
Beaumont, Admirsd Sir Lewis, 168, 

Becker, Sir Frederick, 270. 
Bees, instinct of, 54. 
Belfast, lecture at, 168. 
Belgians : Leopold 11., King of, 93, 

167 ; Albert, King of, 167. 

Belgica in Antarctic, 49, 50, 52. 
Bell, Captain William and Ellen, 8. 

— Dr. William, 19. 

— William, jun., 105. 
Bellingshausen, Admiral, 12. 
Bengal, Bay of, 39. 

Berlin, 201 ; lectures at, 169, 170. 
Bemacchi, Louis C, on Discovery, 

58, 63, 70. 
Berwick, H.M.S., 97. 
Bird, Cape, 127. 
Birth, 3, 10 ; of eldest son, 91 ; of 

daughter, 103 ; of second 

son, 185. 
Birthday : on Discovery, 67 ; on 

Barrier, 148. 
Biscoe, John, 13. 
Biscuit, gift of, 146. 
Bjorn, inspected, 108, 
Blackie, Prof. John Stuart, 88. 
Blizzard, The, magazine, 71. 
Blizzards, 121, 129, 133, 143, 144, 

148, 149, 189, 243. 
Blubber stove, 219, 
Bluff, The, N.Z., 155. 
Bluff depot : (1909) laying, 135 ; 

finding, 149 ; (1916), 243. 
Board of Trade : marine depart- 
ment, ix ; exam., 43, 48. 
Boats, working, and at sea, 33, 150, 

220, 224, 226, 255. 
Bohemian Club dinner, 249. 
Bonaparte, Prince Roland, 168. 
Books read at sea, 35, 46, 48, 61, 

62, 71. 
Borchgrevink, Carstens Egeberg, j 

46, 48, 52, 54, 65, 117, 153. I 
Boss, The, nickname, 130, 266. | 

Boston, lectures at, 173, 249. | 

Bowers, Lieut. Henry R., 189. | 

Boxing, love of, 32, 259, 287. 
Boy, rating of, 30. 
Boyishness, 99, 160, 269, 271, 286. 
Boy Scouts, 256, 274. 
Brandon, lecture at, 177. 
Bransfield Strait, 218. 
Brazil : sighted, 37 ; visited, 253, 275. 
Breslau, lecture at, 171. 
British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, 

105-155 ; small expense, 164. 

— Association meetings, 83, 89. 
Broads, Norfolk, visit to, 192. 
Brocklehurst, Sir Philip, Bart. : on 

Nimrod, 108, 126 ; climbs 
Mount Erebus, 129 ; illness 
of, 130 ; gets medal, 162. | 

Brocklesby, Dr. Richard, 6. I 



Brown, Prof. A. Crum, 88. 

— C. P., of Valparaiso, 42. 
Browning, Robert : poetry of, 49, 

5o» 51. 56. 63, 66, 70, 281 ; 
quoted, iii, loi, 103, 156, 
181, 283, 291. 

— Settlement, 163, 199, 266. 
Bruce, Dr. William Speirs, 60, 89, 

184, 193, 207, 209, 231. 
Brussels, reception at, 167. 
Bryant, Henry G., 173. 
Bryce, James (Viscount Bryce), 173. 
Buckley, George, 105, 114, 116. 
Budapest, visits to, 170, 186. 
Buenos Aires, 203, 240, 253. 
Burke, Edmund, 6, 7, 46, 242. 
Bume, Owen T., schoolfellow, 45, 

Business interests and worries, viii, 
177, 183, 186, 193, 262, 264. 

Caird Coast, discovered, 207. 

— Sir James, 197, 198, 203, 271. 
Cairn erected at Grytviken, 282. 
Calgary, lecture at, 177. 
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H., 95. 
Camping on Barrier, 67, 135 ; on 

glacier, 140 ; on ice floes, 

Canada : High Commissioner of, 
269; visits to, 174, 176, 177, 

Candide, referred to, 290. 

Cape pigeons, 225. 

Cape Town, 52 ; bees at, 54 ; Dis- 
covery at, 61 ; visit cancelled, 

Captain, newspaper, 32. 
Cardiff, 34. 
Cargo, storing or working, 19, 39, 

47, 61, no, 113, 201, 273. 
Carisbrooke Castle, serves on, 55. 
Carson, Sir Edward (Lord Carson), 

Cary, Miss Henrietta Frances, 10. 

— Rev. Henry Francis, 10. 
Cat on Quest, 273. 

Cathedral : thanksgiving service, 
156 ; funeral service, 280. 

Caution, 281 ; Yorkshire, 154, 290 ; 
of Capt. England, 122. 

Celtic strain, 9, 99. 

Censorship, dislike of, 234, 253. 

Cervantes referred to, 204. 

Chairmen at lectures, 168. 

Challenger, H.M.S., 3, 16, 82 ; 
Reports of, 61, 82, 272. 

Chanties and hymns, 291. 
Character, 3, 43, 218, 287, 288, 
Charcot, Dr. Jean B., 105. 
Charing Cross, reception at, 159. 
Charities, help to, 112, 158, 163, 

165, 166, 172, 187, 240, 251, 

Charles 11. and Margaret Fell, 7. 
Cheeriness, 226, 288. 
Cheetham, A., Endurance, 199, 205. 
Chest, old sea-, 10, 29, 42. 
Chicago, lectures at, 175, 249. 
Children : love of, 80, 91, 104, 158, 

288 ; lectures to, 90, 266. 
Chile, visits to, 32-33, 36, 41, 48, 49, 

232, 238, 254. 
China, visits to, 46, 48. 
Chinaman, pony, 136, 147. 
Chinese labour, 95. 
Chittagong, 38. 
Choate, Joseph, 174. 
Christ Church, Westminster, 87. 
Christchurch, N.Z., 80, 112, 156. 
Christiania, reception at, 166. 
Christmas : on Barrier, 77 ; on 

Plateau, 142 ; on Endurance, 

206 ; in Weddell Sea, 214 ; 

on Dublin, 260 ; at home, 

186, 265, 270 ; on Quest, 

277 ; lecture, 90. 
Christy, Gerald, 167 ; appreciation 

by, 180. 
Churchill, Right Hon. W. S., 202. 
Cigarettes, 26, 92, 148, 188, 236. 
Clarence Island, 218. 
Clark, R. S., on Endurance, 205. 
Clive, Lord, referred to, 17. 
Clyde Yacht Club, Royal, 201. 
Coal : " gold " in, 25 ; at Cape 

Roy ds, 122; discovery of , 1 4 1 . 
Coats Land, 88 ; sighted, 206. 
Cobden, verses on, 95. 
Coffee-stall kindnesses, 288. 
Commission as Major, 256, 262. 
Committees : dislike of, 108, 241 ; 

Relief, 230, 238, 245. 
Comrades, tribute to, 162, 266, 280, 
Comradeship, 100. 
Concepcion, Chile, 41. 
Confidence, 219, 235. 
Congo medal, 167. 
Congress, International Geographi- 
cal, 48. 
Consideration, 219, 
Contemporary Review quoted, 247. 
Continent, visits to the, 93, 165-171, 

179, 184, 185, 269. 



Conventionality defied, 286. 
Conversazione of R.G.S., 81. 
Cook, Capt. James, 7, 11, 153, 176. 

— Dr. F. A., 164, 166, 176. 
Copenhagen, lecture at, 165. 
Cork, lecture at, i68. 
Coronel, Chile, 48, 49. 
Courage, 10, 246, 281, 290. 
Cowes Week, 60, no, 163, 200, 202. 
Cowley, Abraham, referred to, 7. 
Craig- Lippincott, Mr. and Mrs., 175. 
Crater Hill, 70, 73, 133. 

Crean, Thomas : on Endurance, 
199, 205 ; in boats, 221, 
223 ; crosses South Georgia, 
227. 231. 

Credit, equipping ship on, 104. 

Crevasses : on Barrier, 77, 135, 
136 ; on Beardmore Glacier, 
140, 146 ; on Plateau, 141. 

Cricket at Dulwich, 25, 37. 

Cromarty Firth, 260. 

Cromwell and Margaret Fell, 7. 

Croydon, residence at South, 22. 

Crozier, Cape, 15, 64, 128. 

Crozier, Capt. F. M., R.N., 14. 

Crystal Palace, 22, 27 ; fireworks, 

Cullum Gold Medal, 173, 294. 

Currie, Sir Donald, 163. 

C.V.O. conferred, 162, 293, 

Daily Chronicle, 197. 

— Mail, letter to, 54. 
Dannebrog, Order of, 166, 293. 
Darkness, polar, 69, 130. 
Darrington. Shackletons of, 4. 
Darwin, Charles, 17, 55, 75, 76, 


— Major Leonard, 159, 161. 
David, Prof. Sir T. W. Edgeworth : 

on Nimrod, 112, 117, 123 ; 
at Cape Royds, 126, 128; 
climbs Mt. Erebus, 129; at 
Magnetic Pole, 134, 153, 167. 

Davis, Colonel Alexander, 105. 

— • Captain John King : on Nimrod, 
III, 157, 268 ; raising funds, 
185, 190 ; on Ross Sea relief, 
238, 241, 242. 

Day, Bernard C, 125, 162. 

Dayton, Ohio, reception at, 175. 

Dead man on Hoghton Tower, 40. 

Death : race with, 145-150 ; wrest- 
ling with, 228 ; and know- 
ledge, 191 ; of friends, 35, 
189, 197, 233, 269. 

Debates on Discovery, 70. 

Debts, 163, 188, 241, 251, 264, 267. 

Deception Island, 216, 218, 220. 

Decisions, quick, 118, 119, 143, 
154, 221. 

Defensive attitude, 286. 

Degree, honorary, Glasgow, 199. 

Dellbridge Islands, 127. 

Denmark, King and Queen of, 165. 

Depot : in polar travel, 132 ; 
journeys, 128, 133, 134, 242 ; 
at Minna Bluff, 73, 135, 148, 
149, 243 ; A, 134, 136, 148 ; 
B, 136, 147 ; C, 138, 146, 
147 ; Lower Glacier, 139, 145 ; 
Glacier, 141 ; Plateau, 144. 

Dernburg, Herr, 170. 

Deutschland, drift of, 189, 209, 216, 
236, 247. 

Diary, quotations from : Dis- 
covery expedition, 62-75 ; 
Endurance expedition, 215 ; 
on Quest, 277. 

Dictating Heart of Antarctic, 158; 
South, 245. 

Disappointments, 55, 79, 82, 96, 
118, 144, 175, 211, 263, 270. 

Disaster averted, 240, 243. 

Discipline, speech on, 256. 

Discovery (1901-4), viii, 56, 58, 59, 
60,65, 79. 89, 117, 205,280; 
(1916), 230, 232, 234. 

Discovery, Mount, 148. 

Distinctions, list of, 293. 

Docks : adventure, 26 ; work in, 52. 

Dogs : on Discovery expedition, 
72, 76 ; on Nimrod expedi- 
tion, 109, 129, 149 ; on 
Endurance expedition, 196, 
200, 208, 215, 218, 243. 

Donald, Robert, help from, 197. 

Donne quoted, 3. 

Dorman, Charles (father of Lady 
Shackleton), 50, 57. 

— C. Herbert, 105, 233. 

— Miss Emily Mar}'^ {see also 

Shackleton, Lady), 43, 49, 
50, 57, 86, 87. 

— Miss Julia, 93. 

— • Miss Maude Isabel (Daisy), 233. 
Dornoch, golf at, 89. 
Dover Pier, wife on, in, 112, 158, 
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 160. 
Drake, Sir Francis, 238, 285. 
Dramatic instinct, 22, 178. 
Dreams of food, 77, 142, 148. 
Dresden, lecture at, 171. 



Drift : of Aurora, 229, 243 ; of 
Endurance and Deutschland, 
209, 236 ; of floes in Weddell 
Sea, 208, 215, 221. 

Drygalski, Dr. E. von, on Gauss, 59. 

Dublin, 5, 19, 168. 

Dublin, H.M.S., dinner on, 260. 

Dudley Docker (boat), 219, 221, 
222, 224. 

Dulwich College, 24, 28, 37, 1G2, 
228, 269. 

Dundee : Discovery built at, 55, 

59 ; election, 90-96, 267 ; 
visits to, 59, 83, 85, 90, 92, 
96, 266 ; whalers, 39. 

Dunkirk, visit to, 42. 
Dunlop, H. J. L., on Nimrod, 122. 
Dunsmore, Jas., recollections of, 50. 
D'Urville, Admiral J. Dumont, 14. 
Duty versus promise, 120. 
Dysentery, 36, 146, 147. 

Eastbourne, 55, 202, 250, 263, 265. 
East India Dock, 51, 59, 89, 
Edinburgh : residence in, 85-108 ; 

Society, 87 ; visits to, 168, 

257, 266. 
Edmonton, lecture at, 177. 
Edward vii., King : on Discovery, 

60 ; on Nimrod, no; con- 
gratulations from, 157 ; con- 
fers decorations, no, 162, 
169 ; kindness of, 165 ; death 
of, 176. 

Edwards, Thomas, 28, 125. 

Effigy in Madame Tussaud's, 163. 

Election at Dundee, 92-96. 

Elephant Island : discovery of, 12, 
13 ; landing on, 222 ; relief 
efforts, 229-237. 

Elizabethan qualities, 281, 285. 

Eliza Scott, schooner, 13. 

Ella of Spitsbergen expedition, 256, 

Emma, schooner, 233-235. 

Emperor : German, 170 ; of Russia, 

Empire, love of the British, 262. 

Enderby Brothers, 12, 13. 

Enderby Quadrant, 12, 13, 271. 

Endurance, 43, 146, 246, 280, 290, 

Endurance : naming of, 196 ; equip- 
ment of, 200 ; voyage out, 
203-206 ; besetment, 207 ; 
drift of, 209, 236 ; loss of, 
210-2:^ ; film of, 264, 265 ; 
reference to, 273, 274. 

Enemies and friends, 286. 

England, Capt. R. G., on Nimrod, 
III, 116, 118, 119, 121-123. 

Ensign : Blue, 52, 59, 201, 242 ; 
White, 46, 272. 

Entente Cordiale, 168. 

Equipment : mental, 98 ; of 
Nimrod, 109 ; of Endurance, 
197 ; of Russian expedition, 
257 ; of Quest, 272. 

Erebus, Mount, 15, 64, 80, 121, 
148, 242 ; ascent of, 128. 

Erebus, H.M.S,, 14, 15, 82. 

Evans, Cape, 242, 244. 

— Capt. E. R. G. R., R.N., lecture 

by, 191. 

— Capt. F. P., on Koonya, 114, 

116 ; on Nimrod, 149. 

— Capt. W. A., of Flintshire, 51. 

— Petty Officer Edgar, 189. 
Everett, P. W., appreciation by, 84. 
Eversen, Capt., of Hertha, 42. 
Ewart, Nanty, referred to, 273. 
Expedition : Arctic projected, 268 ; 

National Antarctic, 57-80 ; 

British Antarctic, 103-155 ; 

Imperial Trans - Antarctic, 

193-247 ; Shackleton-Row- 

ett, 268-282. 
Exploration, early interest in, 24 ; 

romance of, 288. 
Extravagance, 164. 

Failure and success, 35, 247, 289. 
Fairweather, Lieut.-Com., R.N., on 

Discovery, 234. 
Falkland Islands, 223 ; visits to, 231, 

232, 234. 
Falklands, Battle of, 205. 
Falmouth, 10, 33. 
False Point, 39. 
Farthest South, Scott's (1903), 78, 

137 ; on Nimrod expedition, 

144 ; of Endurance, 208. 
Fear, 18, 219, 221. 
Fell, Margaret (ancestor), 7. 
Fernandino, Florida, 47. 
Ferrar, Hartley T., on Discovery, 

58, 68. 
Fertilizers, scheme for making, 263. 
Fever, 39, 42. 

" Fightthe good fight," 68, 157, 291. 
" Fighting Shackleton," 4, 23. 
Filchner. Lieut. Wilhelm, 184, 185, 

189, 194, 201, 209. 
Film, kinematograph, 157, 161, 176 ; 

of Endurance, 237, 264-266 ; 

War, 254. 



Finland : sailors from, 233 ; Ger- 
mans in, 258. 
Finse, glacier, 198. 
Fir Lodge School, 23, 48, 62. 
Fitzmaurice ancestors, 10, 36. 

— John, 9. 

Flag : King George's, 202, 249 ; 
Queen Alexandra's, no, 144, 
201 ; sledge, 67, 144. See 
also Ensign and Union Jack. 

Flattery, power of, 288. 

Fletcher, Phineas, quoted, 229. 

Flintshire : second mate on, 48 ; 
voyages, 49-51, m. 

Floes, drifting, in Weddell Sea, 
206, 212, 215, 218, 219. 

Flower shows, 33, 187. 

Foca I., purchase of, 269. 

Food : for sledging, 132 ; variety 
of, 217 ; dreams of, 77, 142. 

Football. 25, 66. 

Footprints, following, on Plateau, 

Foreign explorers, 104, 194. 

— Ofi&ce, 251, 256. 
Fortitudine Vincimus, 8, 43, 67, 152, 

Fortune, hopes of, 97, 164, 183, 

198, 262. 
Fox, George, 4, 7, 
Fram, 184, 232. 
Frankfurt, lecture at, 171. 
Freedom, love of, 288. 
French, proficiency in, 25, 169. 
Friends, Society of, 4, 7, 8, 9. 
Friendship, 117, 197, 247, 262, 287. 
Frobisher, Rev. Anthony, 4. 

— Sir Martin, 4, 285. 
Frost-bite, 143, 144, 220, 221, 260. 
Fry, A. M., 105. 

Fuller, Elizabeth (ancestor), 6. 
Funds, difficulty as to, 195, 197, 

238, 239, 269. 
Funeral processions and services, 

278, 279, 280. 
Funerals, attraction of, 19. 

Gaika, third officer on, 55. 
Galileo's birthday, 46, 66. 
Gambling instinct, 217. 
Gardens, the Shackletons' love of, 

7, 8, 9, 18, 22, 37, 289. 
Gardiner, Allen, 238. 
Gas-engines, study of, 97. 
Gauss expedition, 59, 85, 
Gavan, Miss Henrietta L. S. (Mrs. 

Henry Shackleton), 9. 

Gavan, Mrs. H. J., 9, 10, 19. 

— Henry John (grandfather), 6, 

lo, 29. 

— Rev. John (ancestor), 9. 
Generosity, reckless, 84, 99, 146, 

164, 289. 

Geographic Society, National, 173. 

Geographical : Congress, Inter- 
national, 48 ; Club, 161. 

Geographical Journal. 105, in, 281. 

Geographical Society : American 
(New York), 173 ; Austrian, 
170, 193 ; Danish, 166 ; 
German, 170 ; Hungarian, 
170 ; Italian, 158 ; Royal 
(London), see Royal ; Royal 
Scottish, see Scottish; Rus- 
sian, 171 ; of Paris, 168 ; of 
Philadelphia, 173. 

Geological specimens, 140, 151, 

George v.. King : on Nimrod as 
Prince of Wales, no; on 
Endurance, 200, 202 ; audi- 
ences of, 200, 249, 260, 273 ; 
congratulations from, 231 ; 
lecture to, 252. 

Gerlache, Capt. Adrien de, 167. 

German : Antarctic expeditions, 
59, 184, 189 ; Army in Fin- 
land, 258 ; Emperor, 170 ; 
fleet, 205 ; language, 25, 170, 
179, 185 ; influence in S. 
America, 253, 254 ; spies, 255. 

Germany, visits to, 169, 179, 185. 

Germs in Antarctic, 200. 

Glacier Bay on Caird Coast, 207. 

— Beardmore, see Beardmore ; 

Tongue, 73, 127, 133. 
Glasgow : lecture at, 266 ; Uni- 
versity degree from, 199 ; 

work in, 97, 103. 
Goggles, for snow, 139. 
Golden Hind, Drake's, 238, 285. 
Golf : first drive, 86 ; at Buenos 

Aires. 254 ; at Dornoch, 89 ; 

at Seaford. 188 ; at St. 

Andrews, 92. 
Good Hope, storm off Cape of, 38. 
Gothenburg, visit to, 166. 
Government grant for Nimrod, 164 ; 

for Endurance, 198 ; for relief 

expeditions, 238. 
Graham Land, 13, 42 ; map, 236. 
Gran, Tryggve, 167. 
Granite Harbour, 64, 
Gratitude, example of, 146. 
Gratz, lecture at, 179. 



Gravedigger, early ambition, 2i» 
Green, C. G. (cook), 274. 
Green's shipyard, 109. 
Greenstreet, L., on Endurance, 205. 
Grey, Earl and Countess, 174. 
Griese, river, 18. 
Griffiths, Lieut. - Com. Arthur, 

R.N.R. (GrifE), 26, 260. 
Grisi, pony, 138, 147. 
Grytviken : Endurance at, 204, 205 ; 

Quest at, 277 ; burial at, 279 ; 

monument at, 282. 
Guarantors, 103, 104, 164, 264, 
Guildhall, lectures in, 187. 
Guthrie, Mrs. Hope, appreciation 

by, 98. 

Half -Moon Bay, 155. 
Halifax, lecture at, 168. 
Halsbury, Earl of, 160. 
Hamburg, 33, 47 ; lecture at, 170. 
Harbord, E. A., on Nimrod, iii. 
Harbour Hill, 73. 
Harness, sledge, 140. 
Harrow School, visits to, 266. 
Harvard, enthusiasm at, 173. 
Harwich Yacht Club, Royal, 59. 
•Hastings, lecture at, 172. 
Hayward, V., on Aurora expedition, 

242, 243, 244. 
Heart of the Antarctic : writing of, 

158, 163 ; publication of, 

167 ; French translation, 

168 ; quoted, 137, 142, 143, 

144, 146, 155. 
Heat : dislike of, 254, 275 ; in the 

Antarctic, 138, 215. 
Hecklers : at Dundee, 95 ; at 

Philharmonic Hall, 267. 
Hedin, Dr. Sven, 166. 
Hegediis, Sandor von, 186. 
Heinemann, Wilham, 158, 160. 
Henry of Prussia, Prince, 171. 
Hero Readers, 187. 
Hero-worship, 190. 
Higgins, Miss, Fir Lodge School, 23. 
Hinton Charterhouse, 197. 
Hobbs, Prof. W. H., notes by, 175, 
Hodgson, T. V. (" Muggins "), on 

Discovery, 58, 70, 107. 
Hoghton Tower : first voyage on, 

to Chile, 30, 239, 275 ; 

second voyage to Chile, 34 ; 

third voyage to Indda, 

Australia, and Chile, 37 ; 

aground, 39 ; dismasted, 41, 

42 ; as simile, 161. 

Home-coming, 33, 36, 49, 51, 81, 
158-160, 249, 255, 259, 263. 

Home Rule for Ireland, 19, 95, 

Home-sickness, 30, 37, 112, 288. 

Honours, ambition for, 22 ; ap- 
preciation of, 156, 289 ; 
list of, 293-294. 

Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton, 14, 82. 

Hope, Mount, discovery of, 138, 
139 ; depot at, 243. 

Hopkins, Capt. J. B., 30. 

Horn, Cape, storms ofE, 32, 36, 233. 

Horoscope from ship, 3. 

Horse, holding a, 177, 287. 

Horse-flesh, 138, 146, 147. 

Hospitals, helping, 158, 165,177,265. 

Hovgaard, Commander, 166. 

House : Kilkea, 18 ; in Dublin, 
19 ; in Sydenham, 22 ; in 
Edinburgh, 87 ; at Putney 
Heath, 185 ; at Vicarage 
Gate, 195 ; Eastbourne, 250. 

Hubbard Gold Medal, 173, 294. 

Hudson, H., on Endurance, 205. 

Huguenot ancestors, 10, 169. 

Humour, 178, 217 ; American, 176. 

Hungary, visits to, 170, 184, 186. 

Hunger, 77, 138, 142, 148, 288. 

Hurley, F., on Endurance, 205. 

Hussey, Capt. John Austen, ap- 
preciation by, 56. 

— L. D. A. : on Endurance, 205 ; 
on Elephant Island, 237 ; at 
home, 247, 257, 266 ; at 
Murmansk, 258 ; on the 
Quest, 274 ; in Montevideo, 
278 ; at Grytviken, 279 ; ap- 
preciation by, 280. 

Husvik, South Georgia, 229. 

Hut : at Aberdeen House, 25 ; at 
Cape Royds, 125, 126, 151, 
242 ; at Hut Point in 1902, 
66 ; in 1908, 133 ; in i909> 
151 ; in 1916, 243 ; at Cape 
Evans, 242, 244. 

Hut Point, 73, 127, 133, 151, 243. 
Hutchison, Alfred, 200, 231. 
Huxley's Lay Sermons, 74. 
Hymns : on the Hoghton Tower, 
31 ; favourite, 68, 157, 291. 

Ice Barrier : off Coats Land, 206 ; 
the Great, see Barrier. 

Icebergs, early picture, 21 ; in 
Ross Sea, 65, 115 ; off South 
Georgia, 277 ; in Weddell 
Sea, 206 ; risks from, 188, 



Ice-falls on Glacier, 141, 146. 

Ideals, 281, 289. 

Ignis fatuus, 93, 188, 

Imagination, 99, 261, 281. 

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedi- 
tion, 193-247 ; route, 196. 

Inaccessible Island, 127, 242. 

Inconsistency, 287. 

India, passages on, 112, 158. 

Indian Ocean, 38. 

Influenza at Grytviken, 204 ; at 
St. Vincent, 275. 

Information, Department of, 251. 

Insight, quickness of, 218. 

Institiito de Pesca, 232, 279. 

Intuition, 154. 

Invasion, winter, plan of, 250. 

Invergordon, sails from, 260. 

Invernairn, Lord. See Beardmorc. 

Iquique, visits to, 33, 36. 

Ireland, lectures in, 168. 

Irish : ancestors, 9 ; brogue, 23 ; 
intelligence, 154 ; wit, 290. 

Irizar. Capt. Julian, 83, 

Ironside, Maj.-Gen. Sir \V. G., 

I sis, passage on, 158. 

Islands, doubtful, 157, 268. 

Italy, King of, reception by, 109. 

James, R. \V., physicist on Endur- 
ance, 205, 2 lb ; appreciation 
by, 217-218. 

James Caird, boat : in Weddell 
Sea, 213, 219, 221-223 ; 
voyage to South Georgia, 
224-227 ; at Albert Hall, 
265 ; presented to Dulwich 
College, 228. 

Jane, brig, 12. 

Japan, voyages to, 46, 48, 49. 

Jockey Club, Santiago, 239. 

Johnson, coachman, 46. 

— Dr. Samuel, 6, 7. 

Joinville Island, 218. 

Jokes, practical, 22, 92, 178, 269, 

Journalist, life as, 84. 

Joyce, Ernest, on Nimrod, 108, 
125 ; laying Bluff depot, 
135, 149 ; receives medal, 
162 ; on Aurora, 242. 

Jumping Jenny, referred to, 273. 

Kaiser, lecture to the, 1 70. 
Kaiser Wilhelm Land, 85. 
Kay, Chris., schoolfellow, 26. 
Keats, poetry of, 56. 

Keedick, Lee, 175 ; appreciation 
by, 180. 

Keighley, Shackletons of, 4. 

Kerr, A., on Endurance, 205. 

Kiel, lecture at, 171. 

Kilkea, Co. Kildare, 3, 17, 19, 

Killarney, private railway car, 177. 

Killer- whales, 219, 220. 

Kindness, 43, 288. 

Kinema films, 157, 254, 265. 

Kinematograph, first in Antarctic, 
106, 162. 

King Edward Land : discovery, 
05 ; projected base at, iii, 
184 ; attempt to reach, 
118-120, 207. 

King Haakon Fjord, 226. 

Kinsey, Sir Joseph J., 122. 

Kipling, Rudyard, meeting with, 
54 ; poetry of, 99, 290 ; 
quoted, 45, 81. 

Kitchener, Earl, 174, 203. 

Knighthood conferred, 168, 293. 

Koetthtz, Dr. Reginald, on Dis- 
covery, 58, 63 ; discovers 
moss, 64. 

Konig, Dr. Felix, projected ex- 
pedition, 193, 197, 201, 202. 

Konigsberg, lecture at, 179. 

Koonya tows Nimrod, 114, 115. 

Kosmos Club, 105. 

Kristensen, Capt. Leonard, 46. 

Labour Members, value of, 255. 
" Lag, Mr.," early nickname, 18. 
Lambton, Miss Elizabeth Dawson, 

104, 198. 
Landing by boat at Elephant 

Island, 222, 236 ; on South 

Georgia, 226. 
Lands of Silence, error in, 79. 
Lantemists, incidents with, 83, 

175. 176. 
Lapland, passage on, 252. 
Larsen, Capt. C. A., 42. 
Latin, Abraham Shackleton and, 5, 

Lauder, Sir Harry, 192. 
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 174. 
" Lead kindly Hght," 157, 291. 
Leadbeater, Mary, 6. 
Leadership, gift of, 122, 153, 160, 

219, 281. 
Leap Yceir Day, 191 6, 216. 
Lecture agents, in, 167, 174, 175, 

17b, 180. 



Lectures : in Albert Hall, i6i, 
265 ; in Philharmonic Hall, 
266-268 ; at Southport, 83 ; 
to children, 90, 266 ; on 
Continent, 165, 169, 171, 
179, 184 ; in America, 173- 
177; in Great Britain, 168, 
172, 178, 187, 192, 199, 263, 
266; on board liners, 112, 
172, 253 ; at Rio, 276. 

Leeds, lecture in, 163. 

Legion of Honour, 169, 293. 

Leipzig, lecture at, 171. 

Leopold II., King, 93, 167. 

Letter: from Mr. Asquith, 164; 
from Sir James Caird, 198 ; 
from Sir E. Carson, 251 ; from 
King Edward, 157 ; from 
Dr. E. A. Wilson, 106 ; 
anonymous, 254 ; to a 
friend, 103, 104, 186, 241, 
255, 270 ; to parents, 31, 35, 
40 ; to daughter, 233 ; to 
son Edward, 235 ; to son 
Ray, 224, 258 ; to his wife, 
50, 112, 118-121, 165, 203, 
204, 240, 246, 252 ; to J. 
Q. Rowett, 276 ; to Dame 
Janet Stancomb- Wills, 276 ; 
to J. Sarolea, 250. 

Letters, love of receiving, 38, 42, 

Lewisham, reception at, 162. 
Liberal Unionist Party, 90, 189. 
Lifeboat Fund, lecture for, 163. 
Life-saving, 220. 
Lion of the season, 159. 
Lips, blistered, 148. 
Lisbon, Quest at, 275. 
Lister : Lord, 199 ; Mount, 199. 
Lively, cutter, 13. 
Liverpool, 30, 33, 37, 203, 252. 
Livingstone Medal, 168. 
Lloyd's, Committee of, help, ix. 
Loan in New Zealand, 241, 244. 
Loczy, Dr. Lajos, 170, 
London Season, 1909, 159. 
Longfellow, poetry of, 35. 
Longhurst, Cyril, 87. 
LongstafE : LI. W., 58, 271 ; Mount, 

78, 137- 
Lowestoft, lecture at, 172. 
Loyalty, 261, 280. 
Lucas, St. John, quoted, 265. 
Luck, good, 153, 224. 
Lucy, Sir Henry, help from, 163. 
Luitpold Land, 189, 208. 

Lusitania, lecture on, 172. 
Lysaght, Gerald S. : meeting, 53 ; 
on Quest, 274. 

— Sydney, 105, 112. 
Lyttelton, N.Z. : Discovery at, 61, 

62 ; Nimrod at, 113, 155. 

M'Carthy, T., on James Caird, 223. 

M'Clintock, Admiral Sir Leopold, 10. 

MacDonald, Alan, 253. 

Mcllroy, Dr. J. A. : on Endurance, 
205 ; on Elephant Island, 
237, 247 ; in Spitsbergen, 
256 ; on Quest, 268, 274, 278. 

Mackay, Dr. A. Forbes, on Nimrod 
expedition, 108, 125, 129, 

134. 151- 

Mackellar, Campbell, 105. 

Mackintosh, Capt. .^Eneas L. A., on 
Nimrod, iii, 151 ; accident 
to, 121 ; gets medal, 162 ; 
on Aurora, 199 ; on the 
Barrier, 230, 243 ; at Cape 
Evans, 242 ; death of, 244. 

— Mrs., lectures for, 245. 
Macklin, Dr. A. H., on Endurance, 

205 ; on Elephant Island, 
237, 247 ; at Murmansk, 
258 ; on Quest, 274, 278. 
M'Lean, Dr. W., of Tintagel Castle, 

53, 55- 
M'Murdo Bay, discovery of, 15. 

— Sound : Discovery in, 66 ; de- 

scription of, 127 ; as base 
for Nimrod expedition, 106, 
118 ; in Aurora expedition, 

M'Nab, Dr. Robert, 241. 

M'Neish, W., on James Caird, 223. 

Madeira : Discovery at, 61 ; Quest 
at, 275. 

Madras, call at, 38. 

Magellan, Ferdinand, 238. 

— Strait, 232. 

Magnetic : pole, David's discovery, 
134, 150, 157; research, 14. 

Maize as sledging food, 140. 

Major, commission as, 256. 

Manchuria, ponies from, 109. 

M.A.P. quoted, 24. 

Map : Propagandist, 254 ; of 
British National Antarctic 
Expedition, 124 ; of pro- 
jected Trans- Antarctic ex- 
pedition, 196 ; of Antarctic 
regions, 1874, 11 ; of Endur- 
ance expedition, 236. 



Margate, Endurance at, 202. 
Markham : Sir Clements, 58, 67, 
72, 79, 81, 89, 160 ; Mount, 

78. 137- 

Marlborough Club, election to, 165. 

Marriage to Miss Dorman, 87. 

Mars, H.M.S., 260. 

Marshall, Dr. Eric S. : on Nimrod, 
108, 126 ; climbs Mount 
Erebus, 129 ; depot-laying, 
134. 135 J o^ Southern 
journey, 141, 144, 149 ; gets 
medal, 162 ; at Archangel, 

Marston, George E., on Nimrod, 
108, 125, 134 ; gets medal, 
162 ; book by, 191 ; on 
Endurance, 205. 

Masefield's poetry, 290. 

Master's certificate, 49. 

Mate, examination for, 43, 48. 

Mathematician, simile of, 290. 

Mathew, Father, 8. 

Mauretania, passage on, 190. 

Mauritius : visit to, 39 ; sailor from, 

Mawson, Sir Douglas : on Nimrod, 
H2, 126 ; climbs Mount 
Erebus, 129 ; at South Mag- 
netic Pole, 134, 150, 153 ; 
on Australian Antarctic ex- 
pedition, 185, 190, 195 ; on 
Relief Committee, 231. 

Maynard, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. M., 258, 
259 ; appreciation by, 261. 

Medals, awards of, 89, 158, 162, 
166, 168, 169, 173, 294. 

Mediterranean, first voyage on, 46. 

Melbourne, lectures at, 112, 158. 

Melbourne, Mount, 63. 

Mellor, Lydia (ancestor), 7. 

Memorial : at Gr3rtviken, 282 ; 
service in St. Paul's, 280. 

Mercantile Marine, career in, 30-55. 

Mermaid Tavern referred to, 286. 

Meteorological data, 70, 246. 

Micawber, Mr., referred to, 290. 

Michigan, University of, 175. 

Micky or Mike, nickname, 23, 260. 

Middlesex Hospital, help to, 265. 

Milk, dried, no. 

Mill, Dr. H. R., on Discovery, 59. 

Mills, Sir James, 114. 

Milton's poetry, 7, 35, 290. 

Minna Blufi, 73, 148. 

Mirage reveals depot, 149. 

Mirni, Russian ship, 12. 

Mischief, love of, 17, 286. 

Mobile columns, 259. 

Modesty, 156, 187. 

Monmouthshire, voyages on, 45, 48. 

MonteUus, Professor, 166. 

Montevideo, visit to, 240 ; funeral 
at, 278, 279. 

Montreal, visit to, 1 77. 

Monument, The, 22. 

Moone, Co. Kildare, 8, 17, 42. 

Moore, Lieut. T. E. L., R.N., 15. 

Moraines, Beardmore Glacier, 140. 

Morley, Viscount, quoted, 6. 

Morning : return on, 79 ; relief 
ship, 82, 89. 

Morrell : Benjamin, 12,247 ; Land, 
13, 189, 209 ; map, 236. 

Moscow Soviet, 258. 

Moss discovered in Antarctic, 64. 

Motor-car, first in Antarctic, 106, 
121, 133 ; -crawler and 
warper, 208 ; -sledge, 196. 

Mountaineering, 20, 73, 227. 

Mountains : on Beardmore Glacier, 
139 ; of South Georgia, 204, 
227, 279. 

Mulock, Lieut. G. F. A., 79, 107. 

Munich, lecture at, 171. 

Murmansk, stay at, 257, 260, 263. 

Murray, George, F.R.S., on Dis- 
covery, 59. 

— James, biologist : on Nimrod, 

108, 125 ; at Cape Royds, 
135 I gsts medal, 162 ; 
writes Antarctic Days, 191. 

— Sir John : on Challenger, 16, 82 ; 

in Edinburgh, 86, 89, 91 ; 
lake survey, 108. 
M.V.O., conferred on board Nimrod, 

■ I 

Nagasaki, buying books at, 48. 
Nanoose, private car on C.P.R., 177. 
Nansen, Dr. Fridtjof, 67, 108, 160, 

166, 232. 
Nares, Admiral Sir George, 16. 
National Gallery, visits to, 49. 
Nature, love of, 44. 
Naval Reserve : joining, 55, 58 ; 

resigning, 82. 
Navarro, Antonio de, appreciation 

by, 172. 
Neptune : on Hoghton Tower, 32 ; 

on Tintagel Castle, 53. 
Newbolt, Sir Henry, quoted, 248. 
Newcastle, N.S.W., visit to, 39, 40. 
New England, lectures in, 173. 



Newnes, Sir George, 271. 

New Orleans, visits to, 240, 255. 

Newport News, visit to, 47, 

News Agency, projected, 85. 

Newspapers, arrangements with, 
III, 154. 

News service as propaganda, 253. 

New South Greenland, 13, 247. 

New Year's Day, 1893, at Chitta- 
gong, 39 ; 1894, at Val- 
paraiso, 42 ; 1896, in Red 
Sea, 48 ; 1899, at home, 51 ; 
1902, on Discovery, 63 ; on 
Nimrod, 114 ; 1909, on the 
Plateau, 143; 1910, in Rome, 
169 ; 1922, on Quest, 277. 

New York, visits to, 47, 48, 80, 
173, 174, 189, 240, 249, 252. 

New Zealand : on Discovery, 61 ; 
on Morning, 80 ; on Nim- 
rod, 113, 114, 154-157; on 
Aurora, 239, 241. 

Government, kindness of, 112, 

114, 238, 241. 

Nicol, Sir W. R., tribute by, 160. 

Nimrod : bought, 109 ; leaves 
England, no ; towed to 
Antarctic Circle, 114 ; mak- 
ing for King Edward Land, 
118, 203, 207 ; at Cape 
Royds, 121, 123 ; at Hut 
Point, 151 ; at Stewart 
Island, 154 ; arrives at 
Lyttleton, 155 ; voyage home, 
157 ; at Temple Pier, 165. 
Nordenskjold, Dr. Otto : in Ant- 
arctic, 60, 83 ; at Gothen- 
burg, 166. 
North, Cape, Nimrod off, 152. 
Northcliffe, Viscount, 271. 
Northern Exploration Co., 256. 
North Russian expedition, 256- 

North Sea, 51, 263. 
North-Western Shipping Co., 30, 34. 
Norway, visits to, 108, 166, 198, 

256, 269. 
Norwegians : in Antarctic, 42, 46 ; 
kindness of, in South Georgia, 
227-229, 279. 

Gates, Capt. L. E. G., death of, 190. 

Oban, N.Z., 155. 

Observations for position, 74, 144, 

216, 225. 
Obstinacy of character, 33, 43. 
Ocean Camp, 214, 216. 


Oceanographical expedition, pro- 
ject, 268. 

O'Connell, Daniel, 8. 

O.H.M.S., Shackleton's first book, 
53. 55- 

" Old Cautious," nickname, 221. 

Omar Khayyam, 63. 

Omnibus system of London, 263. 

Optimism, vii, 99, 132, 191, 199, 
203, 213, 214, 223, 224, 246, 
263, 290. 

Orde-Lees, T., on Endurance, 205. 

Orders, list of British and Foreign, 

Organization, power of, 21, 99, 153. 

Orion, 192. 

Orotava, passage on, 80. 

Osterrieth, Madame, 167. 

Otira gorge, visit to, 80. 

Ottawa, lecture at, 174. 

Pacific Ocean, storm in, 40, 41. 

Pack-ice : in Ross Sea, 63 ; at Bay 
of Whales, 118 ; in Weddell 
Sea, 205 ; near Elephant 
Island, 231, 232, 233. 

Packing-cases, new design, no. 

Pagoda, barque, 15. 

Panama, travels by, 240, 255. 

Pardo, Capt. Luis, on Yelcho, 235. 

Paris, lectures in, 168. 

Parkhead Engineering Works, 97. 

Parliament : candidate for, 92-97 ; 
grant by, for Nimrod, 164 ; 
requests to stand for, 90, 189. 

Partridge, Captain, of Hoghton 
Tower, 30, 33, 

Patience, 128, 215. 

— Camp, 215-220, 

Patriotism, 248. 

Paulet Island, 211, 214, 218. 

Pearson, Sir Arthur, 84. 

Pearson's Magazine, 84. 

Peary, Rear-Admiral R. E., U.S.N., 
164, 172, 173, 232. 

Peggotty Camp, 227, 231. 

Penck, Prof. Albrecht, 170. 

Penguin : muff, 18, 19 ; toy, 269. 

Penguins : first seen, 63 ; for food, 
127, 206, 224. 

Perseverance, virtue of, 290. 

Persia, East Indiaman, 10. 

PersonaUty, 100, 280, 290. 

Personnel : of Discovery, 58 ; of 
Nimrod, 108, 125 ; oi Endur- 
ance, 199, 205 ; of Quest, 274. 

Persuasion, powers of, 21, 204. 



Perth, W. A., lecture at, 158. 

Pessimism, guarded against, 217. 

Peterborough, honeymoon at, 87. 

Philadelphia, visits, 173, 174, 249. 

Philharmonic Hall, lectures, 266. 

Phillips, Stephen, poetry of, 63. 

Phonograph, first in Antarctic, 106. 

Photographs, 63, 157, 240. 

Piper, Highland, at Quest's send-ofiF, 

Pittsburgh, lecture at, 249. 

Plans : for Nimrod expedition, 
105, 106-111 ; for Endur- 
ance expedition, 194 ; for 
(3Mg5/ expedition, 270; change 
of, 118, 121, 204, 213, 276. 

Plasmon biscuits, no. 

Plateau, South Polar, reached, 142 ; 
annexed, 145 ; farthest camp 
on, 170. 

Pluck and pertinacity, 238. 

Plum pudding for Antarctic Christ- 
mas, 77, 142. 

Plymouth, lecture, 172 ; Endur- 
ance leaves, 203 ; Quest 
leaves, 273. 

Poetry, love of, viii, 7, 10, 21, 35, 
52, 62, 98, 130, 217, 281, 

Polar (or Arctic) Medal, award of, 
89, 169, 293. 

Polaris, renamed Endurance, 196. 

Pole, South, problem of reaching, 
131 ; reached by Amundsen, 
186 ; by Scott, 189. 

Poles in Lanarkshire, 95. 

Poleward progress, table of, 153. 

Ponies in Antarctic, first, 106, 115, 
121, 129, 134, 139- 

Popularity, 156-180, 251. 

Port Chalmers, sails from, 62, 

Port Louis, Mauritius, visit to, 

Port Stanley, visits. 231, 232, 233. 
Portland, Oregon, visit to, 49 ; 

lecture at, 249. 
Posen, lecture at, 179. 
Possession Island, 15. 
Postmaster in Antarctic, 116. 
Pourquoi Pas? Charcot's ship, 105. 
Power, love of, 246. 
Prague, lecture at, 179. 
Pram Point, 68 ; revisited, 127, 

150. 151- 
Prayers : on Hoghton Tower, 31 ; 
on Discovery, 69. 

Presence, not of this world, 227, 

President, H.M.S., 58. 

President : of Chile, 239, 240 ; of 
France, 169 ; oif United 
States, 173 ; of Uruguay, 
240, 279. 

Pressure ridges in ice-floe, 210. 

Pride that apes humility, 231. 

Priestley, Raymond E., geologist : 
on Nimrod, 108, 125 ; gets 
medal, 162 ; revisits Cape 
Royds, 151 ; appreciation by, 
130, 132. 

Prinz Luitpold Land, 189, 208. 

Procession : at Punta Arenas, 240 ; 
at Christiania (torchlight), 
166 ; funeral, 278, 279. 

Professor Gruvel, steamer, 278. 

Promise to Capt. Scott, 108, 119, 

Propaganda in S. America, 251. 
Prospectus of lectures, 89; of 1914 

expedition, 197. 
" Prospice " quoted, 163, 291. 
Providence, guidance of, 146, 149, 

154, 227, 246, 291. 
Psychology, Polar, 117. 
Ptomaine poisoning, 147. 
Public opinion, 204. 
Publicity, excessive, 271. 
Punta Arenas, visits, 232, 235, 237. 
Putney Heath, house at, 185. 

Quaker ancestors, 4-8, 22, 242. 
Quan, pony, dies, 138. 
Quarrels on expedition, 62. 
Quebec, sails from, 177. 
Queen. See Alexandra, Queen. 
Queen Mary Land, 190. 
Queen's Hall, lecture in, 162. 
Queensferry, summer at, 97. 
Queenstown, call at, 42. 
Quest : naming of, 270 ; equip- 
ment of, 272 ; voyage of, 

273-277- .^ , 

Quotation: love of, 21; unverified, 
191, 265, 289. 

Race with death on Barrier, 145. 
Rain in the Antarctic, 218. 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, resemblance 

to, 281, 285. 
Ramsgate, lecture at, 251. 
Rats on Hoghton Tower, 40. 
Reading, love of, 28, 35, 46, 50, 




Reception : in Berlin, 169 ; in 
Copenhagen, 166 ; at Char- 
ing Cross, 159 ; in Christiania, 
166 ; in Dayton, Ohio, 175 ; 
in Lyttleton, 155 ; in Punta 
Arenas, 237, 238 ; in San 
Francisco, 249 ; in Santi- 
ago, 239 ; in South Georgia, 
227 ; in Valparaiso, 239 ; in 
Wellington, 244. 

Recruiting address, 248-249. 

Redcar, Flintshire ashore at, 51. 

Red Cross Society, 240. 

Redgauntlet, referred to, 273, 

Red Sea, 46, 48. 

Regina, lecture at, 177. 

Relaying sledges, 75, 141. 

Relief expeditions : for Discovery, 
82, 83 ; for Elephant Island, 
230-237 ; for Ross Sea 
party, 241-244. 

Religious views, 28, 35, 43, 291. 

Reporters, manner to, 157, 158, 180. 

Reports, false, 79, 123. 

Research, method of helping, 200. 

Resolution, H.M.S., 7. 

Responsibility, sense of, 117, 203, 
214, 224, 230. 

Rest, desire for, 233, 246, 263, 277. 

Restlessness, 49, 90, 103, 192. 

Results : of Nimrod expedition, 152 ; 
ot Endurance expedition, 246. 

Rhinoceros hunt, 38. 

Rhodes, S. G., schoolfellow, 23, 48. 

Rich men, search for, 104, 109, 194, 
197, 268, 269. 

Richards, W. R., on Aurora, 242. 

Rickinson, L., on Endurance, 205, 

Rights rehnquished, 241. 

Ringaroona, H.M.S., 62. 

Rio de Janeiro, visit to, 253 ; stay 
at, 275-276. 

Rio Secco, 237. 

Risks : reasonable, i8, 211, 223; 
unreasonable, 20, 133. 

Roberts, WilUam C, cook, 125, 162. 

Robertson, Edmund, M.P., 95. 

— Capt. Thomas, of Scotia, 89. 

Robinson, Capt. Robert, of Hoghton 
Tower, 34, 42. 

Robson, Henry, opponent at Dun- 
dee, 95. 

Romance : in Sydenham wood, 26 ; 
of exploration, 281, 288. 

Rome, lecture in, 169. 

Roosevelt, Arctic ship, 232. 

Rosebery, Earl of, 88, 165, 199, 200. 

Ross Island, description of, 127. 

Ross, Sir James C, 14, 46, 88, 153. 

Ross Sea : exploration of, 14, 46 ; 
Discovery in, 63 ; Nimrod in, 
116 ; Aurora in, 195, 199, 
230 ; relief expedition, 238, 
239, 242. 

Rowett, John Q., at Dulwich 
College, 24 ; lends office, 
185 ; finances Quest, 269, 
271 ; letter to, 276. 

Royal Geographical Society : pro- 
motes exploration, 13, 58 ; 
fellowship of, 53 ; conver- 
sazione of, 81 ; awards silver 
medal, 89 ; helps Nimrod 
expedition, no ; lectures 
to, 161, 188, 266 ; awards 
special gold medal, 162 ; 
helps Endurance expedition, 
198 ; represented on relief 
committee, 230 ; at memorial 
service, 280. 

Royal Magazine, sub-editor of, 84. 

Royal Naval Reserve, 55, 58, 82. 

— Navy : accepts conditions of, 

59 ; tries to join, 82. 

— Scottish Geographical Society. 

See under Scottish. 

— Societies Club : geographical 

table, 85 ; welcome by, 160. 
Royds, Capt. Charles W. R., R.N., 

— Cape : discovered, 73 ; selected 

as base, 121 ; hut at, 125, 

151 ; revisited, 242. 
Rugby School, lecture at, 168. 
Rum cart, invention of, 72, 133. 
Russia: Emperor of, 171 ; Dowager 

Empress of, 166, 201 ; visits 

to, 171, 257 ; concessions 

in, 97, 263. 

Sabine, Mount, 63. 

Sabrina, cutter, 13. 

Saigon, visit to, 49. 

Sail on sledge, 147, 148. 

Sailor, British merchant, 30, 43, 94, 

St. Andrews : golf at, 92 ; lecture 

in, 172. 
St. Andrew's Night at Rio, 275. 
St. Katherine's Dock, 273. 
St. Patrick's Day fight, 23, 48. 
St. Paul's : Cathedral, Memorial 

Service, 280 ; Rocks, 32, 275. 
St. Petersburg, lecture at, 171. 



St. Vincent, Cape Verdes, on Flint- 
shire, 48, 49 ; on Quest, 275. 
Sale-Barker, Mrs., 35. 

— Maurice, 22. 
Sandringham, lecture at, 252. 

San Francisco, visits to, 48, 80, 
240, 249. 

San Sebastian, Argentine, 233. 

Santiago : reception at, 239 ; visit 
to, 2 54- 

Sarolea, Professor Charles, 93 ; ap- 
preciation by, 247. 

— Jack, letter to, 250. 
Saunders, Edward, literary assist- 
ant, 158, 245. 

Savage Club dinner, 160. 

Schokalsky, General Jules de, 171. 

School : Preparatory, at Fir Lodge, 
23 ; reports at Dulwich 
College, 24 ; readers, 187. 

Science, services to, 200, 246, 249. 

Scientific Staff, selection of, 200. 

Scotia, voyage of, 60, 89, 247. 

Scotland : lecture tours in, 168, 
178 ; residence in, 86-108. 

Scott, Capt. Robert F., R.N., ap- 
pointed to National Antarctic 
Expedition, 55 ; commands 
Discovery, 58 ; balloon ascent, 
66 ; plans Southern journey, 
71 ; starts, 75 ; turns at 
82" 15' S., 78 ; denies false 
report, 79 ; returns home, 
89 ; objects to plan of 
British Antarctic Expedi- 
tion, 107 ; keeps plans secret, 
III ; Shackleton's promise 
to, 107, 120 ; shows no 
resentment, 157 ; receives 
Shackleton, 159, 160 ; sails 
in Terra Nova, 184 ; reaches 
South Pole and dies, 189 ; 
Memorial Fund, 190; tribute 
to, 191. 

— Sir Walter, works of, 35, 88. 
Scottish Geographical Society, 

Royal : lectures to, 82, 86, 
90, 168, 266 ; secretary of, 
85 ; offers resignation, 91 ; 
resigns from, 92 ; awarded 
medal by, 168. 

Scurvy : attack of, 78 ; A urora 
party attacked by, 243. 

Sea-anchor, lying to, 221. 

Seabirds and souls of the dead, 36. 

Sea-bUsters, 224. 

Sea-chest, old, 10, 29, 41. 

Seaford, gol at, 188. 

Sea-ice in M'Murdo Sound, 128, 

133, 242, 243. 
Sea-plane, 275. 

Sea-sickness, 10, 31, 34, 221, 274. 
Seals : in Ross Sea, 64 ; in Wedaell 

Sea, 206, 209. 
Seamen's Hospital, Poplar, 172. 
Seattle, lecture at, 249. 
Self-confidence, 132. 
Sellar, Mrs. W. Y., 88. 
Semenoff-Tianshansky, Dr., 171. 
Sensitiveness, 56, 173, 286. 
Service, Robert : appreciation of, 

166, 174, 290 ; quoted, 125. 
Sextant : lost, 47 ; use of, 74, 225. 
Shackleton, Abraham (bom 1696), 

5. 170- 

— Abraham (bom 1752), 6, 8. 

— Miss Aimee V. (sister), help 

acknowledged, ix. 

— Miss AUce (sister), help ac- 

knowledged, ix. 

— Cecily Jane Swinford (daughter),* 

birth, 103; 203; letter to, 233. 

— Ebenezer (born 1784), 8. 

— Edward Arthur Alexander (son), | 

bom 1911, 185, 235. 1 

— Miss Eleanor (sister), help ac- 

knowledged, ix, 177. 

— Miss Ethel (sister), 43. 

— Ernest Henry : birth, 3, 10 ; 

ancestry, 4-1 1 ; first pen- 
guin, 19 ; hfe in DubUn, 
19 ; in Sydenham, 22 ; at 
Dulwich College, 24 ; play- 
ing truant, 26 ; as boy on 
Hoghton Tower, 27, 30 ; 
apprenticeship, 34 ; meets 
Miss Emily Dorman, 43 ; 
mate on Shire Line, 45 ; 
officer on Union Castle Line, 
51 ; writes first book, 53 ; 
lieutenant on Discovery, 56, 
57 ; engaged to Miss Dor- 
man, 57 ; chosen by Scott 
for Southern journey, 71 ; 
at 82° 15' S., 78 ; invaUded 
home, 79 ; sub-editor of 
Royal Magazine, 84 ; Secre- 
tary of Scottish Geographical 
Society, 85 ; married, 87 ; 
stands for Parliament, 90 ; 
joins firm of Beardmore, 
97 ; plans Antarctic ex- 
pedition on new lines, 104 ; 
makes promise to Scott, 107 • 



Shackleton, Ernest Henry {ccntd.) — 
leads Nimrod expedition, 
114 ; a broken promise, 
119 ; reaches 88° 23' S., 144 ; 
rewards and lecturing tours, 
156-180 ; knighted. 168 ; 
business enterprises, 183 ; 
plans trans-Antarctic ex- 
pedition, 194 ; leads Endur- 
ance expedition, 204 ; re- 
trieving failure, 213-247 ; 
rescues comrades, 237 ; ac- 
claimed in S. America, 238 ; 
excluded from command of 
Ross Sea rescue, 238 ; signs 
on under Davis, 241 ; re- 
cruiting speeches, 248 ; secret 
mission to S. America, 251 ; 
on North Russian expedition, 
257 ; film lectures, 265 ; 
organizes Shackleton- Rowett 
expedition, 270 ; sails on 
Quest, 273 ; death at South 

^ Georgia, 277 ; a great 

funeral, 27 ) ; burial at 
Grytviken, 280 ; character 
and qualities, 285-291 ; list 
of distinctions, 293. 

— Lady (Mrs. E. H.) : help 

acknowledged, vii, viii, ix ; 
marriage, 87 ; in Edinburgh, 
87-88 ; golfing, 92. 188 ; 
help for expedition, 104 ; on 
Dover Pier, iii, 158 ; re- 
ceived by King and Queen, 
162 ; on continental tour, 
166, 168, 169 ; on American 
tour, 172, 174, 175, 177 ; 
describes practical joke, 178 ; 
visit to Sir James Caird, 
203 ; hears news of safety, 
231 ; received by Queen 
Alexandra, 251 ; farewell 
dinner in Edinburgh, 257 ; 
long distance telephone talk, 
260 ; decision as to burial, 
279; letters to, 112, 1 18-121 ; 
190, 203, 204, 240, 246, 252 ; 
Appendix by, 293. See also 
Dorman, Miss Emily. 
■ — Henry (married 1588), 4. 

— Dr. Henry (father) : birth, 8 ; 

at Kilkea, 9, 18 ; in Dublin, 
19-22 ; at Sydenham, 22 ; 
love of flowers, 60 ; referred 
to, 47, 159, 178 ; illness, 
266 : death, 269. 

Shackleton, Mrs. Henry: help ac- 
knowledged, viii ; marriage, 
9 ; ancestry, 9, 10 ; at Kilkea, 
18 ; in Dublin, 18. 

— John (i6th century), 4. 

— Mary (Mrs. Leadbeater), 6. 

— Raymond Swinford (son), 91, 203; 

letter to, 258. 

— Richard, arms of (1600), 8. 

— Richard, at Flodden, 4. 

— Richard (first Quaker), 4. 

— Richard (friend of Burke), 5, 6, 

7, 242. 

— Roger (born 161 6), 4. 

— House, near Bingley, 4, 5 ; 

village, Yorkshire, 4. 

— Inlet, 78. 

Shackleton- Rowett expedition, 271. 
Shakespeare : love of, 290 ; quoted, 

Shaughnessy, Sir Thomas, 177. 
Sheep at Antarctic Circle, 115. 
Sheringham, holiday at, 177, 
Shetlanders at Grytviken, 279. 
Shirase, Japanese explorer, 184. 
Shire Line, the Welsh, 45. 
Sidney, Sir Philip, recalled, 146. 
Sight-seeing in Budapest, 170 ; in 

Rome, 169. 
SignalUng, facility in, 53, 97. 
Simon's Bay, Discovery at, 61. 
Singapore, Naval Court at, 50. 
Sirius, 53, 192. 
Skelton, Eng.-Lieut. R. W., R.N., 

on Discovery, 58, 63, 79, 

Ski-running, 63, 66. 
Slatin Pasha, 165. 
Sledge : harness, 140 ; meter, 145, 

146 ; sailing, 145, 148 ; 

travel, longest, 242. 
Sledging : and equipment, 131, 

262 ; autumn, 128 ; for 

children, 90 ; rations, 223 ; 

spring, 73, 133. 
Sleep, Ned, schoolfellow, 26. 
Smith, A. Duncan, 93. 
Smoking, earliest, 26, 33. 
Snow : blindness, 76, 78, 136, 139 ; 

bridge, 77 ; pillars, use of, 

138. 147- 
Society : in Edinburgh, 88 ; in 

London, 160, 187 ; in New 

York, 189. 
Socks, pony, loss of, 140. 
Sorlle, Mr., in S. Georgia, 227, 229. 
Soroka, 263. 



Soundings, deep, in Weddell Sea, 
88, 209. 

South America, propaganda in, 251. 

South : dictation of passages, 245 ; 
publication of, 263 ; royalties 
on, 264 ; quotations from, 
210, 211, 219. 

South Georgia (Isle of Georgia) : 
discovery, 7, ii, 12 ; Deuisch- 
land at, 189 ; Endurance at, 
204 ; James Caird at, 226 ; 
crossing of, 227 ; Quest at, 
276, 277 ; funeral at, 279, 

South Pole : Amundsen at, 166, 
186 ; Scott at, 189 ; ap- 
proach to, 131, 153. 

South Polar Times, 70, 74. 

South Sandwich Group, 205. 

— Shetlands : discovery of, 12 ; 

whalers at, 42 ; boats make 
for, 216, 218. 

— Trinidad, visit to, 61. 
Southern Cross, voyage of, 52, 58. 
Southern Sky, 229, 231. 
Southport, British Association, 83. 
Soviet government, 258. 
Spencer Smith, Rev. A., breakdown 

and death of, 243. 
Spies, dogged by German, 255. 
Spirits : good, 237, 271, 273 ; 

depressed, 38, 41, 175, 240. 
Spitsbergen, expedition to, 256. 
Stamps, Antarctic, 116. 
Stancomb-Wills, Dame Janet, 198, 

219, 251, 276. 
Stancomb-Wills, boat, 216, 219, 

221, 223, 224. 
Steirs, mystical meaning, 44, 49, 53, 

192, 277, 291. 
Staten Island, 233. 
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 269. 
Stenhouse, Capt. J. R. : on Aurora, 

230 ; regard for, 242, 247, 

268 ; at Murmansk, 258. 
Stevens, Rev. Henry, 35. 
Stevenson, R. L. : characters of, 

26 ; memorial, 282. 
Stewart Island, 109, 154, 155. 
Stockholm, reception at, 166. 
Stores, work on : on Discovery, 61 ; 

on Morning, 80 ; on Terra 

Nova, 83 ; on Nimrod, no ; 

at Cape Royds, 121, 126 ; 

on Endurance, 203, 214 ; 

at Murmansk, 259 ; on the 

Quest, 272. 

Storms at sea : in Channel, 10 ; on 
Hoghton Tower, 32, 38, 40, 
41, 42 ; in North Sea, 51, 
263 ; on Nimrod, 115 ; in 
Weddell Sea, 207 ; in James 
Caird, 226 ; during Elephant 
Island reUef, 233, 235 ; in 
M'Murdo Sound, 244 ; on 
the Quest, t.'j'j. 

Story-telling, 22, 26, 84, 98, 217, 

Strathcona, Lord, 162. 

Stromness Whaling Station, 227. 

Stunt, alleged advertising, 271, 

Sturdee, Admiral, 205, 

Submarines : attack by, 255 ; con- 
tempt for, 252, 257. 

Success and failure, 184, 247, 289. 

Sun in Antarctic, return of, 73, 132, 

Sunsets : in Atlantic, 35 ; at 
Grytviken, 277. 

Sunshine, effect of, 222. 

Swarthmoor Hall, 7. 

Swinburne, poetry of, 50, 62, 290. 

Switzerland, visit to, 179. 

Sydenham, life at, 22-29. 

Sydney, lectures in, 112, 158, 

Sympathy, 56, 100, 245, 278, 286. 

Syndicate suit, 240. 

Tabard cigarettes, 92, 148. 

Tacoma, lecture at, 249. 

Taft, President, reception by, 173. 

Tagus, Quest in, 275. 

Talcahuana, visit to, 41. 

Tank, miUtary, referred to, 208 ; 

models, of 253. 
Taniallon Castle, voyages on, 52. 
Tariff Reform, 95. 
Telegrams, 155, 160, 231. 
Telephone talks, 257, 260. 
Temperament, hasty, 17, 80. 
Tenderness, 173, 288. 
Tennyson : poetry of, 21, 70, 290 ; 

quoted, 30, 57, 183, 213. 
Tent in Antarctic, 67, 75, 135, 141, 

144, 149, 197. 217. 
Terra Nova : at Dundee, 83 ; as 

relief ship, 89 ; on Scott's 

expedition, 184, 187, 189. 
Terror, H.M.S., 14, 15 ; Mount, 15, 

Tetrazzini singing : in honour, 160 ; 

in opposition, 173. 



Thames, sailing from, 45, 48, no, 

202, 273 ; Nautical College, 

boys from, 280, 
Thanksgiving service, 156. 
Theodolite, use of, 74. 
Thirst, 222, 226. 

Thom, Capt., on Southern Sky, 229. 
Thomson. Sir Wyville, 16. 
Three Rock Mountain, 20. 
Thunderstorm, 18; at sea, 41. 
Tidebrook, Sussex, staying at, 50, 

60; revisited, 159. 
Tierra del Fuego, 238. 
Times, The, 195- 

Tintagel Castle, third officer on, 53. 
Titanic, loss of, 187. 
Tobacco business, 92, 190. 
Tocapilla, adventure at, 41. 
Torquay, Nimrod calls at, in. 
Towing : of Nimrod, 115 ; of Terra 

Nova, 83. 
Trade, development of British, 262. 
Train, special, to Dundee, 93 ; in 

Chile, 240. 
Trans- Antarctic expedition : Bruce's 

project, 184, 193 ; plans of 

Imperial, 194-196 ; failure 

of, 211, 213, 247. 
Transport, polar, importance of, 

132,153; innovations in, 106. 
Treasure, hidden : romance of, 21, 

26, 57, 217, 281, 285. 
Trinity College, Dublin, 6, 9, 19. 
— House, membership of, 161, 188. 
Tripp, L. O. H., on Aurora episode, 

241 ; on South, 245-246. 
Tromso, visit to, 256. 
Troops : American, in convoy, 255 ; 

Russian, transport, 97. 
Troopship, Tintagel Castle as, 53. 
Truant days at Dulwich, 26, 260. 
Tula, brig, 13. 
Tunnel to Antipodes, 20. 
Tussaud's, effigy at Madame, 163. 

Umtali, transport, 260. 

" Uncle Shackleton," joke, 178. 

Unconventionality, 86, 257. 

Undulations of Barrier, 138, 139. 

Unexplored Antarctic, maps, 1 1 , 1 96. 

Union-Castle Line, service in, 51. 

Union Jack, presented by Queen 
to Nimrod, no ; at farthest 
south, 144 ; presented by 
King to Endurance, 202 ; 
return of, 249 ; presented 
by King to Quest, 273. 

United Methodist quoted, 50. 
Unknown, glamour of, 174, 288. 
Uruguay government : assists, 232 ; 

is thanked, 239, 240; honours 

funeral, 279. 
Uruguay, Argentine cruiser, 83, 

211, 232 ; Uruguayan cruiser, 


Vahsel Bay, 208. 

Valparaiso, visits to, 32, 42, 239, 

240, 255. 
Vancouver, lecture at, 177. 
Varanger Fjord, 257. 
Venesta boards, no. 
Verde, Cape, 55. 
Verses : by Richard Shackleton, 5, 

19 ; by E. H. S., 46, 47, 95, 

Vestris, passage on, 253. 
Victoria Land, 15, 46, 63, 127. 
Victoria, Princess, 201. 

— Queen, accepts copy of O.H.M.S., 

Victorian Order, no, 162, 293. 
Vienna: lectures at, 170, 179; 

Geographical Society, 193, 
Vigilance on the floe, 219, 228. 
Vincent, J., on James Caird, 223. 
Vince's cross, 150. 
Virginian, passage on, 177. 
Vivacity in argument, 56. 
Voice, pecuUarities of, 56, 57, 84, 96. 
Vostok, Russian ship, 12. 

Wade, A. C, appreciation by, 178. 

Wales, Prince of (King George v.), 
161, 162. 

Walker, George, 92. 

Wallstown, Cork, 9. 

Walworth, Browning Settlement 
at, 163, 199, 266. 

War : Napoleonic, 12 ; South 
African, 53 ; declaration of 
Great, 202 ; news of, 227, 
230 ; services during, 248- 
264 ; end of, 263 ; spirit in 
America, 249. 

— Office, 257. 

Washington, visits, 173, 249, 255. 
Water, shortage of, 221, 234. 
Waves : in Weddell Sea, 220 ; of 

Southern Ocean, 225 ; of 

South Atlantic, 277. 
Wealth : distribution of, 113 ; 

pursuit of, 191 ; prospects 

of, in. 



Weddell : James, 12, 153 ; Quad- 
rant, 206. 

Weddell Sea : Weddell in, 12, 153 ; 
Ross in, 15 ; Dundee whalers 
in, 39 ; Nordenskjold in, 
83 ; Bruce in. 88 ; Filchner, 
in, 189 ; proposed expedi- 
tions to, 184, 194 ; Endur- 
ance in, 206-212 ; drift on 
ice-floes in, 207-221. 

Wellington, N.Z., visits to, 112, 158, 
241, 244. 

Welsh Shire Line, service on, 45. 

Whales, Bay of, discovered, 117. 

White House, reception at, 173. 

— Island, visit to, 67, 68. 

— Sea, 257. 

Wild, Ernest, on Aurora, 242. 

— Frank : on Discovery, 71 ; on 

Nimrod, 108 ; at Cape Royds, 
125 ; depot-laying, 134 ; on 
Southern journey, 135, 139, 
140 ; extracts from diary, 
146, 147 ; sights Bluff 
depot, 149 ; gets medal, 
162 ; at Queen Mary Land, 
190 ; on Endurance, 199, 
205 ; on the floe, 216, 219, 
221 ; in charge at Elephant 
Island, 223, 235 ; at Spits 
bergen, 256 ; ; 
266 ; in Africa 
Q^4est, 274, 278. 

— Cape, 222. 

Wilhelm 11., Emperor, 170. 

Wilkes, Admiral Charles, U.S.N., 

14. 173- 
Wilkie, Mr., Labour M.P., 95. 
Wilkins, G., on Quest, 274. 
Wilkinson, Margaret (ancestor), 5. 
Wilson. Dr. Edward A. (" Bill ") : 

on Discovery, 58, 68, 70 ; 

on Southern journey. 75 ; 

invited to join Nimrod, 106 ; 

death of, 189. 
Wind : and sledge- travelling, 145, 

148 ; and drift of floe, 215 ; 

in Southern Ocean, 225. 

268 : on 

Winnipeg, lectures at, 176, 177. 

Winter : on Discovery, 70, 71 ; at 
Cape Royds, 129 ; in Endur- 
ance, 208 ; equipment for, 
256 ; invasion planned, 250 ; 
at Murmansk, 261, 

Wireless : at Falklands, 231 ; on 
Quest, 272, 278, 

Wit, Irish, 290. 

Women : sympathy of, 198 ; votes 
for, 96. 

Woodville, takes body to South 
Georgia, 279. 

Woosnam, Rev. G. W., 27, 30, 


Wordie, J. M., on Endurance, 205; 
appreciation by, 281. 

Wordsworth quoted, 17. 

Working men, sympathy with, 95 
163, 199, 288. 

Worries in business, 186. 

Worsley, Capt. Frank A. : in 
Endurance, 199. 205 ; in 
Weddell Sea, 221, 223 ; in 
the James Caird, 223, 225, 

226 ; crossing South Georgia, 

227 ; on Elephant Island 
relief ships, 231-235 ; left 
behind, 242 ; on the Ella, 
257 ; at Murmansk, 258 ; on 
the Quest, 274. 

Writ served in Ottawa, 174. 
Writing, dislike of, 260. 

Yacht Club : Royal Clyde, 201 ; 
242 ; Royal Harwich, 59. 

— Squadron, Roval, 272. 
Yarmouth, I.W.,''6o. 

Yelcho : and Elephant Island relief, 
233. 235, 237, 238 ; recep- 
tion at Valparaiso, 239. 

Yorkshire : caution, 154, 290 ; origin 
of family, 4. 

Young. Douglas, 232. 

— Sir Allen, 165. 
Younghusband, Sir Francis, 266. 

Zurich, lecture at, 179. 








Mill, Hugh Robert 


The life of Sir Ernest